If a recent research study by Comscore, Inc. is correct then social networking communities like Facebook have leveled off in North America, although not globally. The market for social networking has reached a point of maturity in North America, up a modest 9% in the past year. The total growth outside North America was up 25 percent. New growth markets for social networking are currently the Middle East and Africa, where growth in the past year was up 66 percent, Europe experienced a 35 percent increase, and Latin America up 33 percent. What does this tell us about the current state of social networking? That cultural relevance is one very important element to creating online social environments. If future online social networks are to be effective they will have to have a cross-cultural theme, with natural language capabilities and full scale localization, targeting micro cultural country specific customs to allow for continued growth and longevity. If not, we will likely see the introduction of independent online micro social networks providing relevancy. This is already the case in South Korea, where culturally specific online social networking communities tailored for the Korean community exist.
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