by Carlo Longino

Would You Like Some Social Networking With That Network Switch?

from the all-the-teens-are-flocking-to-CiscoSpace dept

The big news over the weekend is the apparent purchase of one-time social-networking highflier (though now pretty much invisible) Who cares, right? Except it's networking giant Cisco that's buying it. The social-networking fad has well and truly caught on, not just with 16-year-olds, but with plenty of business executives deciding the need to offer it -- even if it doesn't always make sense. The logic in the Cisco purchase is hard to discern. It had already purchased Five Across, a supplier of white-label social-networking services, last month, with the apparent angle being that Cisco wanted to supply social-networking to all the companies to which it supplies its more usual type of networking products. That logic is sort of interesting, but it's hard to see Cisco ever becoming much of a force in social networking, since it's a space typically dominated by younger, smaller and more creative companies -- after all, this is a space that even Google couldn't make work (except for Orkut's huge market share for Brazilian drug dealers). Interesting though the logic may be, it's still not particularly compelling. While the hype around social networking continues to grow, it appears there's still a lot of thinking to be done about where and how it makes sense to fit it into a company's strategy. For instance, alongside the Cisco-Tribe news this weekend was the relaunch of USA Today's web site, with a host of new social-networking features. While the change is accompanied by the inevitable negative reactions from some readers anytime a newspaper changes anything, the wider response appears a bit more optimistic. That's because what USA Today is doing makes some sense, and can be appreciated as an attempt by the paper to make its web offering more interesting and more relevant. Offering social-networking isn't some sort of magic bullet, nor is it easy to get right -- and that's something these companies rushing into the space will figure out pretty quickly.

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  • identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, 5 Mar 2007 @ 10:37am

    I am not sure what Cisco's play is here? I mean I know they are trying to grow past networking and core gear. I just don't think this type of application is going to help them grow their business. Odds are the network people are not server going to be an uphill battle for them

    Good luck to them though

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kyle, 5 Mar 2007 @ 10:44am

    social experiment

    I wonder what would happen if USA Today (or some other major paper) offered a youtube-esque site that allowed user-created stories to be submitted. I'd be interested in it just to see what stories people covered. might help their online business model draw some people to their site, especially if the user stories had some positive vibes and were all doom and gloom and anna nicole...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scott, 5 Mar 2007 @ 11:45am

    Write Off...

    That's all it is, a write off for Cisco, who has been paying WAY to much in taxes... Hopefully, they will be able to write it off in the next 3 years and save themselves about 4 billion in taxes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul, 5 Mar 2007 @ 12:01pm

    Could be a good idea.

    When epople think of social networking sites they think of myspace. What is myspace? it is a place for kids to race to "win" by having the highest number next to the words "number of friends"

    A social networking site for Cisco customers could be awesome for a multitude of reasons. Often enough I will do something on a piece of Cisco equipment that SHOULD work but there may be a glitch or bug in a certain firmware or something. A place like this would make it easy to find other people who use Cisco equipment and discover workarounds for things like that. It would also make an excellent place to make business contacts.

    Think of it like prep school. People don't go there just for an education, they go there to make contacts with other people who may be able to help them later on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lucas McDonnell, 5 Mar 2007 @ 12:21pm

    The more I hear about social networking...

    the more I wonder who actually defines what social networking is exactly. While we've all heard the phrase 'social networking' countless times, hasn't it really gotten a bit out of control as to what we're calling social networking?

    If I have a networking of people and they interact in pretty much any way -- that's SN. Many companies seem to be trying to buy their way into the SN sphere without really thinking about the cost/benefit of that purchase.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Missing, 5 Mar 2007 @ 2:04pm

    right before our eyes...

    Perhaps their reasoning is more simple than we might think. After all, they do have fingers (nay, whole appendages) in almost everything networking, why not this? It could be viewed as an effort to become more well rounded. Like a professional football player studying Shakespeare. He'll (probably) never act, but its fun to pretend. (maybe its an extension of his fascination for wearing tights) or perhaps its like a geek watching professional football, he'll never play, but its fun to pretend ;)


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Missing, 5 Mar 2007 @ 2:08pm

    almost forgot...

    Next thing we know thay will be getting into MMORPGs, 1-900 numbers and on-call-girls.....

    "Think CISCO for all your networking needs!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mahesh Lalwani, 5 Mar 2007 @ 2:32pm

    It is part of the human network !

    Social networking is here to stay. It has done wonders for kids. Now it is about time mature adults learn from it and use it in a way that suits their lifestyle. We created - our mobile social network for the phone, since adults are more comfortable speaking over IM, voice conveys more than plain text can, it is truly mobile and one can get in touch with the right person immediately. Oh and we use some of those networking gateways too! Mahesh Lalwani
    Founder & CEO,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    p-air (profile), 7 Mar 2007 @ 4:58pm

    Not so hard to discern

    Marc Canter offers an opinion on this matter which is worth reviewing regarding why was acquired by Cisco. Check it out at:

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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