The Compelling Evidence

Consider the following:

1. From a recent article in Fortune Magazine, “The Trouble with MBAs”: “When Jack Welch gave a guest lecture at MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2005, someone in the crowd asked, ‘What should we be learning in business school?’ Welch’s reply: ‘Just concentrate on networking. Everything else you need to know, you can learn on the job.'” Like him or hate him: when Jack talks, big business listens.

2. Time Magazine’s “2006 Person of the Year: You” is an acknowledgement to the internet as a populist movement and the power that we, as individuals, now wield over the worlds of politics, entertainment, etc.

3. Educational Institutions are developing curriculums for networking education like the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)’s Social Computing Lab which has recently received a $124,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a new course offering to 90 students for the upcoming Fall, 2007 semester.

4. High gas prices are causing more individuals and small businesses (which, according to the Small Business Administration accounts for 50% of U.S. private nonfarm gross domestic product) to rely upon the internet for online networking to do business, conduct meetings, etc.

5. Web 2.0, “new media” and mobile networking are gaining in popularity due to several factors:

* TeleComms are investing more money into technology infrastructure this year (Sprint: $7 Billion, Verizon: $5 Billion) as well as being acquired (Alltel’s recent $24.8 billion acquisition by private investment firms)

* On the wave of the infrastructure boom, larger social networks like MySpace and Facebook continue to amass their followings while a flood of new start-up networks are vying for market share.

* Generation Yers (or Millennials) embrace this new technology more readily than their counterparts from other generations and the oldest of them are now entering the workforce (see my article from last month: Networking with the Millenials: The End of the World as We Know It?)

6. Media giant just recently hired two economics and sociology professors: Preston McAfee and Duncan Watts to head their research department and find opportunities in the areas of social networking and online markets.

7. According to an article in Canada’s The Chronicle Herald, social networking sites are beginning to overtake pornographic-related sites as the most popular web destinations.

8. The increasingly-accepted paradigm of “Markets are Conversations” (from The Cluetrain Manifesto by Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls and David Weinberger is being supported by the fact that large corporations like U.S. Television Network NBC is planning a launch of their own social networking site.

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