By economic principle, Facebook is a winner-takes-all (if it doesn’t trip up), or put differently. Social networking is not a category but a platform (to which extensions and applications can be built) owned by Facebook. Hence building Ping, a social network around music from Apple (and integrated into iTunes), is poised to fail. Apple instead should stick to its knitting and enable Facebook “likes” to cross-pollinate media content to some 500 Million users instantly optimally. Segmentation of social networks is not in the interest of users because it is impossible to segment people’s social behavior and subsequently expect them to maintain their fragmented access.
Mark my words.
Even LinkedIn is doomed if it tries to encroach on Facebook’s territory with more social networking capabilities for business. All Facebook needs to do is turn their social attention to business (which is still somewhat rudimentary today). LinkedIn is not a free-market. It does some pretty shady and in-transparent things when people are looking for a job, such as providing unwarned access to people who are not your references (something I was offered when I was evaluating people through LinkedIn for a startup). LinkedIn better runs for its IPO real fast, while the public has no clue how much shorter its shelf-life has become since Facebook.