Big news today -- Cisco will acquire Tribe, the beleageured social networking site. I've been wondering when something like this might happen. Tribe may have lost its brand appeal in the age of MySpace, Facebook, Second Life. But with the Cisco brand -- which has always been about "networking" -- Tribe might get a second life: as a platform for businesses who want to build their own social networks. In today's issue of The New York Times, Brad Stone looks at some of the challenges that Cisco and its customers will face. Buiding a community ain't easy; the technology is not even half of it.
UPDATE: Mukund Mohan believes that businesses are being driven by "MySpace envy," not ROI. I'm not sure about that. People I speak with are very interested in the business case for communities, and the conversation revolves around things like "lowering the cost of customer acquisition," "scaling the scope of communications," "reducing time to implementation" (with networks designed to capture ideas for product development). It's more about peer production than "peer pressure," but the latter plays a role at a higher level: innovation.
UPDATE: It always amuses me when bloggers and journalists jump all over a company before that company has had an opportunity to speak. Brad Stone's article today in the New York Times scooped the Cisco announcement. Yet many are trashing the company for it's presumably stupid move (e.g., see Om Malik's post). We don't have all the facts yet, or the context. But in the meantime, Cisco would be smart to provide a comment via its news blog. We're waiting.