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James you have just simultaneously blogged on the same topic as Idris Mootee, so I will repost my comments to see what you think:

Social networking is the basis of society.

However, as an ancient art, real world networking is something which is incredibly refined and granular. It is a skill and a game which, in the most successful areas of society, has complex rules and tactics are often explicitly passed on from parents to their children.

It is a little more complex that "friend"/"not friend" but none of the existing social network have really begun to develop beyond this neanderthal level.

I think that the whole social networking thing is crying out for a P2P client based architecture where the end user has a greater control of their own data.

As social networking develops from a teenage chat rooms into a platform for more sophisticated networking, intelligent people are going to ask how much of this information they really want to be handing to Google, Microsoft or anyone else.

The option on any of the major networks of a free service v's pay for greater privacy (of your network data), and a more refined control platform with greater granularity, would attract a lot of people into paying.

James Cherkoff

Hi Rory, great analysis as ever. What you are referring to sounds like the latest Searls adventure - VRM. Very interesting area.

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