It ain’t what you do, it’s where you do it

Chris Andersen – he of The Long Tail fame – echoes my feelings in Social Networking is a feature, not a destination.

As I think about the current Facebook craze and the notion of it as an all-encompassing platform, sucking in functionality from other sites across the board, I find myself skeptical. With my Long Tail hat on, I think that one-size-fits-all will fail in social networking, just as it has everywhere else (which is why I like Ning, which suppresses its own brand for the sake of those of the microsites it hosts).

Instead, I think focused sites that serve niche communities will extract the best lessons from Facebook and MySpace and offer better social networking tools to the communities they already have. I’m sure huge and generic social networking destinations will continue to do well, but I’m placing my bet on the biggest impact coming when social networking becomes a standard feature on all good sites, bringing community to the granular level where it always works best.