Given that I last week did a blog post about my social-networked online life (and it's various parts and pieces) it's only appropriate that there should be two different magazine cover stories (below) that delve into the topic... albeit in very different ways.
The whole point of the blog post was to look at the different online profiles I've got and try to figure out how to have them integrate, link to and interact with one another. With that fairly dialed in (at least I feel that way for now), I found interesting the two aforementioned pieces that look respectively at online relationships (not between different profiles/sites, but between friends) and at the fastest growing social-networking site... Twitter.
In terms of online relationships between people, the June 1 issue of BusinessWeek featured the story "Learning, and Profiting, from Online Friendships" that examines the efforts from various companies to figure out how to help connections between consumers lead to increased sales for a brand or product.
These ways can range from targeted ads to friends on a social-networking site to attempting to mine and garner product recommendations between friend networks. Either way, huge potential there and it will be quite the race to see what firms to benefit from friend relationships the most... and quickest.
Taking a different approach, but very much related, was the June 15 Time Magazine cover story on Twitter. Titled "How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live", it's a detailed look at the site/tool/medium/phenomenon that according to a Time graphic, has grown some 1,300% in year over year monthly visitors.
My "related to the BW story" comment about Twitter comes largely from the article description of Twitter users figuring out new ways to use the service... one of the largest being the forwarding of links to their network of friends or followers. This forwarding doesn't of course have to be able a product or service they like, but... it could.
It's fascinating stuff and all revolves around the concept of people using the Internet as a social tool that can accomplish a lot... whether that be simple personal expression, the spreading of causes or pointing their friends in the direction of a good purchase. Definitely a lot there either way you slice it.