In less than a decade, Facebook has amassed over half a billion users and has become an integral part of our lives. Many of us spend hours on Facebook for business and pleasure. But there was time before Facebook, and most importantly, there will be a time after.
Social networks have been around for as long as there have been people. There are countless social groupings big and small that cater to both niche and general needs. When traditional social networks went digital, an opportunity was created for sites like Hi5, Bebo and MySpace.
Sites like YouTube and Flickr embedded social networking features into their platforms. Then came Facebook, which arguably claimed the social networking space, soon to be joined by Twitter. But despite the dominance of these platforms, there are other social networks poised to be the next big thing.
Using geolocation tools, FourSqaure and Gowalla have made an impact on social networking. Taking it further, Groupon uses both geolocation and social integration to offer shopping deals. And LinkedIn has emerged as a Facebook for grown-ups looking exclusively for business networking.
Some social networking sites have already made their impact such as: Plaxo, Tagged and WAYN. Some never did, like Microsoft Spaces and Google Buzz. While others remain popular, if under the radar like Flixter, Ning, StumbleUpon and Yelp.
No one can predict if a social networking bubble is approaching, but for now, the trend remains strong.