On identity and social networking

I was reading a great Wharton knowledge article by Jonah Berger and Chip Heath on identity, from a marketing perspective. The article, From cool to passe’: identity signaling and product domains, looked at “how consumers use products to signal membership in social groups, but swiftly abandon those same products when the original message is diluted as other groups co-opt the trend”.

Of note was the conclusion, that consumers blend both conformity and divergence from the choices of others.

If this is the case, will we see the same dichotomy in the digital identity space for social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, as other social networking sites, such as Netlog and Quechup, gain momentum? [Euan Semple’s blog post and comments have alerted me to some major problems with Quechup so maybe it won’t be a threat after all].

Or will social networking sites fragment into more specialised niche operations like Flikr and LinkedIn? I have a feeling the latter will prevail…

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