The local social networking opportunity

Despite the phenomenal growth and dominance of Myspace in social networking, there's still plenty of opportunity -- in the niches.

I think people play different social roles depending on whether they're interacting at work, with their neighbors, or in a Myspace-like global setting.

As a result, there's room for more social networks, and local social networking is an important opportunity that newspapers should be chasing.

"Recovering Journalist" Mark Potts agrees: "I'm surprised newspapers haven't experimented more with social networking features. It seems to be a good way to tie together existing offline audiences (subscribers) and to give them the ability to exchange information and experiences."

We've had "buddy list" social networking in and the new since their respective launches, and for several months both sites have had interest-based networking, comments, and enhanced personal pages. As an adjunct to other community functionality, especially blogging, it works very well and a glance at the profiles on either site will reveal that iit's not just teens and twentysomethings who like it.

It's a natural fit. We're rolling out Drupal-based blogging with the social networking component to all our newspaper sites.

I'll be on a panel at Connections 2007 in Las Vegas in January, discussing social networking. I believe also on the panel will be Dan Pacheco of Bakotopia and someone from Myspace.