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Is social networking just online communities?

We at the Web Marketing Association are always looking for new industry categories to add to our WebAward competition for Web site development.

We have received a number of requests to add social networking as a new category. These days you can’t open a magazine or newsletter without hearing about MySpace, LinkedIn or a hundred other Websites where people come together to meet.

My question is this: Isn’t social networking simply the latest buzz word to describe online communities? Online communities have been a category in the WebAwards since 1998, the year after the WebAwards was started.

Can anyone explain to why one is different from another or is this just a new coat of paint on a old car?