Social networking and user generated content sites have clearly taken their definitive hold reshaping the face of online communications forever. New and sometimes out of place sites pop up all too frequently with targeted topics to attract the curious viewer. With companies out there like Ning, which provides the platform to build custom social networking sites, the market continues to fill with new, and ever newer, ideas.

But following closely behind are the large brands that are using social networking as a vehicle to promote their branding, positioning, and ultimately, to sell more product. Here, the customer relationship is a tentative thread and requires tactful consideration to all of the possible ?what ifs? in a campaign scenario. We?ve seen great use of viral YouTube videos as well as some poorly planned executions that have cost agencies coveted relationships.

The vehicle is viable. Brands can leverage less content and attain greater reach with less effort on potentially shorter timeframes. But gone are the days of the Burger King Subservient Chicken when sending a link to a friend was enough. Voila! Social networking!

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