I remember many years back when websites like Xanga and Friendster ruled the social networking sites. Then came along hi5 then a multitude of other sites finally falling on myspace and now facebook. I'm sure there will be more as we progress but the truth is that social networking is going to be around for quite a while. Its to easy to stay connected and up to date with . . . well everyone and anyone.
Its also an important fact to note "how" Generation Y uses social networking in difference than any other generation. There is the very obvious and immediate reason of having the ability to re connect with long lost relationships and stay in tune with a multitude of people with little or no work. And there are many layers to why Gen Y'ers prefer a multitude of facebook friends vs. allowing the natural progression of losing some of your friends as you grow or at least the ones that were really never even "friends".
Its also interesting to see how new technologies are aggressively embracing social networking and staying "connected". For example I have Loopt that not only lets you give your network of friends; status updates it also gives them your exact location on a map. I also have loopt set up so that it notifies facebook of my status update, location with a map, as well as my twitter account. Is it necessary? I truly don't know but as much as I digress from it when I notice that I'm losing the "Real life" interactions that aid me in influencing and leading my team at work I always come back around to Facebook. The convenience and instant gratification of the whole system creates a quick fix for our natural need for socialization.
I also want to note that businesses are now gearing towards finding ways to create revenue through the masses through social networking with failures and marginal success. Its an inevitable process for something that draws this many people to a central place will also draw a way to make revenue. I'm fascinated with the failures of Facebook to post online purchases of their users to their public space for visibility to their networks, and the successes that companies have creating brand loyalty through twitter and other social networking sites. I can gaurantee that as social networking develops along with our technology someone will figure out a novel and ingenious way to make sales off the numbers of consumers gathered.
And then you have Linkedin which is another topic in itself.
You can also create blogs to write in more detail what your doing or how your doing and you can choose to follow or subscribe to RSS feeds and updates. You can twitter status updates and locations and again follow and subscribe. There are just so many ways that we communicate and socialize with so many layers that fulfill so many needs and functions. The end result is to at least check it out and play around with some of the mediums that our Generation Y so embraces because its understanding or rapport that will be the foundation to leading Gen Y.