USA Today writes about the trending nature in social networking (here) towards "being viral". It appears that similar to viral e-mails and viral videos there are aspects of social networking that have an even greater ability to be so, specifically Facebook and Twitter.
Often times you will hear people comment on social media as a place where no money can be made. This may have been true in the beginning at inception but as it stands now there are plenty of folk using the viral nature of social networking sights to promote their businesses and create sales leads. Even Facebook themselves have found a way (here) to gain a profit through interactive ad placement.
Read Write Web touches on these very issues (here) while citing the top 10 trends for social networking in 2009. They go on to mention the above, making money from it, and also finding more distinct demographic niches with which to target that make complete useful sense to the consumer.
Government trends in this new administration are leaning towards social networking (here) as a method to remain transparent.
The point is that there are trends out there towards integrating the social networking world with our need to stay afloat in our own commerical lives. I think the difference this time is that the business networking is going to make sense and be purposeful, not intrusive and more open.
We are going to be able to bring this around full circle and make it work for us meaningfully.