There is the potential of an eBay-like economy, with a transaction-based business model, once professionals accept 1) everyone is a free agent in the 21st century, forget being an employee, and 2) a critical mass of professionals have a viable web presence. This new economy will be based on the exchange of professional services thru a bartering system – essentially bypassing national forms of currency. eBay is already experimenting with alternative forms of currency, e.g. frequent flyer miles. and I suspect they are very deep into analyzing a bartering economy, not whether to do it, but when. Bartering is already very big business on the web…just do a Google search and I suspect you will be astonished at the types of merchandise and services, and the companies, that are already participating in bartering.
I believe there are only two really powerful uses of social networks – for jobs/career for white-collar professionals and “employee-type” roles, and for yellow page advertisers (yellow pages are essentially the proxy for personal commodity services, often location-dependent, e.g. real estate agents and for small businesses).
Friendster is silly for a variety of reasons, and the other social networking websites that are targeting professionals have failed to appreciate that free agents want to OWN their data – thus proprietary based systems (e.g. LinkedIn, Monster.com’s effort, Tribe.net, Spoke SW, Ryze) will fall by the wayside as open software solutions become available. In fact, it is already possible to create 95% of the needed functionality for an initial job/career social networking website out of freely available software and services (Google, Blogger, Yahoo Groups, etc.). See www.resumeblog.com for a straightforward example.
For more information on the above topics please read other posts in my blog, visit the ResumeBlog blog, my professional website at Typaldos.com, and the ProfGuilds/Software Product Marketing website.
I would love to get a small amount of funding for my concept – ProfGuilds – but unfortunately women entrepreneurs only receive 4% of venture funding. My team and I are looking for corporate funding instead.