I recently participated in the Wharton Technology Conference, which is run by the students of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. I moderated a Social Networking panel that included Sebastian Paquet from Social Text, a startup developing social software solutions for business; Jason Ford from Tocquigny Advertising, Interactive + Marketing; Emily Melton from Draper Fisher Jurveston, an early-stage venture capital firm; and Tom Cox from America Online.
The Internet has become an increasingly effective platform for collaborative applications that enable people to organize into online communities of all sorts, and as a result, social networks have emerged as a major force in the marketplace. Blogs, wikis and different kinds of social software are helping large numbers of people connect, collaborate and find each other online. Social networks are a major part of what many refer to as the second phase of the World Wide Web or Web 2.0. While some may argue that the term Web 2.0 is more marketing hype than actual substance, just about everyone will agree that the Web is becoming much more participatory and collaborative.