***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** A quick comment on this great exchange. Don asked "how can you tell that it was the participation in MySpace etc that led to increased business?" Well, one of the major differences between MySpace (and other online "social networks"/community sites) and past marketing, promotions, advertising etc is that in many many cases actions are directly and explicitedly trackable. i.e. fans take a specific action to add a band as a "friend" on MySpace (not dissimilar to past actions of joining a fan club but significently easier and with more immediate interactions). Fans leave comments and the band can (and very often does) reply back. Fans can download music and not infrequently buy albums, tickets, t-shirts etc. There have been a large number of bands (and venues) who can see a very direct correlation between their activity on MySpace and "real" world sales. Bands who as independants made it to #1 on various charts, whose albums when launched sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the first week (without a major label promotional campaign, MTV videos, or major radio airplay). For smaller venues and businesses onling activity is unique in that if you want you can (and most successful firms do) track very directly where clicks come from - and what happens. i.e. what sites just generate downloads of free content and which generate downloads and sales. The social interactions, the back and forth through a trusted site (MySpace for example) also allow an audiance to shape what the artist/company makes. A non-MySpace example of this is the T-shirt company from Chicago, Threadless. They ONLY make designs that their large community has voted for, rewarding directly a community of designers and customers that they have built up over time. This social "network" is very directly tied to real business performance and activities - and through tracking those ties and what works/does not work the successful businesses can grow and succeed very significently. (not just through as in Threadless's case their own hosted "network" but also via watching how their participation elsewhere on the web helps them - i.e. blog posts about them on popular community sites such as Digg.com, Reddit, BoingBoing etc) Shannon _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.