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Big media’s crush on social networking

The NYT has a decent overview of the efforts by major media companies to add social networking functionality to their sites, like Disney.com, or acquire social destination sites, like Hearst’s recent acquisition of eCrush. Of couse, all this is getting more attention in the last few days now that MySpace has been hit with a lawsuit. But like I’ve written before, social networking should not be feared, and it will soon become a component of nearly all online content. Some users will want it, others won’t. But it will become a user expectation, especially in the younger set. NBC Digital’s Sab Kanaujia has a similar take, which he posted on his personal blog before it was removed a short time later. “My team at NBC Universal Digital Media is currently leading a major social networking initiative,” he writes, as quoted in Techcrunch. “(It) will provide various tools and functionality on all our major properties to enable users to self-express and find, interact and share with other like-minded users.” He continues, “We’re not launching separate stand-alone destinations. The current valuations… do not provide an attractive cost/benefit proposition for ownership.” So in short, social networking is moving away from destination to integration — a connection engine that allows interested users to communicate and share via similar content across similar networks. Isn’t that what the internet is all about?

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