I got an interesting note from LinkedIn today announcing that they just hit their 100 Millionth member. They also told me that I was member 199861 (whew - I got in before 200K). Those are some pretty large number by almost anyone's scale. From Wikipedia that puts it on par with the 11th (Mexico) and 12th (Philippines) largest country in the world.
Yet, social networking techniques are still in their infancy in most corporations. There is a great deal of growth potential here as organizations move into unified communications, deploying collaboration tools, move to be more globalized and extended the enterprises through Coopitition. The techniques to pull networks together are changing rapidly as well as we being to move from defined connections (like LinkedIn) to derived networks based on personnel behavior.
This last area is one that I've been talking with some of the HP labs teams about, since HP has over >300K personnel finding the right one just a few minutes quicker could have quite an impact.
One of the facts of business life today for many sectors is that you're forced to work with your competitor on one deal and compete against them in another -- coopitition. IT organizations need to have a plan in this space, to support their corporation business model.
The same situation is true in politics, both at the local and global level. In this situation, the use of information can be key to allowing the relationship to exist. Being able to share what's important for one situation and retract that access once the situation/relationship has ended, allows the data owner to have greater confidence that their being protected.
This article from some folks at HP is one view on addressing this situation - although it is more focused on the retail consumer information space. The consumer space is ripe for legal protection, requiring the use of privacy enhancing technologies.