Good news for the socially inept

It seems every big web launch at the moment is some twist on social networking. It's easy to see why. Is there anything Facebook hasn’t been credited with/blamed for? Will Bebo’s founders bow out for a cool billion?Two web design agencies told Smarta last week they’re inundated by corporates requesting Facebook apps. Why? Why doesn’t matter; they just have to have one. Everyone’s going interactive. Join the party or you’ll get left behind.Is that really true, though? Do we really want to build a profile and upload a photo for everything we do online? Smarta’s a massive advocate of social networking but it’s not for every model and too many businesses are incorporating it without any semblance of strategy.Three web success stories making the news this weekend certainly suggested there’s life outside social networking. BeatThatQuote, a price comparisons specialist Smarta flagged last week, has been named the UK’s fastest growing website beating, yes you guessed it, Facebook into second place.Alex Burmaster, internet analyst, for Nielsen Online commented, “It’s a reminder the internet provides valuable services other than virtually poking friends.” Precisely.Elsewhere, it was good to see the founders of Hotels4u.com strike it rich by selling their simple but effective bed booking site to Thomas Cook for a cool £22m, and the very ‘web 1’ looking but heavily populated www.holidaywatchdog.com acquired by TripAdvisor.com.A critical mass switched onto social networking is incredibly powerful, but don’t get blinded by it.

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