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Businesses must embrace Facebook generation

Social networking can boost competitiveness

Businesses are not making the most out of social networking technologies brought into the spotlight by sites such as Facebook and MySpace, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Gartner said the business potential of such sites was "largely untapped", and the firm expects them to "become increasingly important to the competitiveness of large enterprises in the future".

"Social networking software holds enormous potential for improving the management of large enterprises," said Nick Ingelbrecht, research director at Gartner.

"However, work in this area is still immature and in the meantime enterprises should be aware of what is happening in the world of consumer social networking and implement appropriate usage policies for employees' use of services such as Facebook and MySpace on company time."

The research also claims that web users don't currently place a high level of importance on social networking sites compared to other mainstream internet applications such as email and search. However when combined with other broader forms of networking such as instant messaging, Gartner thinks "there is a significant aggregate level of interest in the social aspects of communication".

"Social networking is arguably as old as humanity, not something new that has been invented for so-called 'digital natives', said Julia Lin, project manager of research data and analytics at Gartner.

"However, social networking has found new forms of expression on the internet which has helped to reshape the purpose and protocols of social networking in the online world and beyond. How to apply this in a corporate environment will be the next major challenge".

See also:: 20% of Brits want Facebook on the beach


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