Online social networking, an extension to human evolution?

Robin Dunbar, the British anthropologist and an influential practitioner of evolutionary psychology, authored a book in which he contended that language was perhaps invented to enable human beings to better establish mutual relationships. A similar analogy can be applied to the relevance of social networks today.

Social networking as evolution

In this article at the MSNBC, Michael Rogers suggests that perhaps the same analogy can be applied to current trends in social networking on the Internet. This is just another evolutionary step in an attempt to increase the numbers in the "group" that one can constantly be connected with.

Social networking is in its infancy, but there are certain significant stages that it has already passed through. The posts at Social Degree (Part 1 and Part 2) detail the various phases that have marked the evolution of social networks as we know them today. From "open to all" networks to demographic and subject-based classifications to the future progressions of social networking through mobiles and profile integration services. Social networking in the enterprise

One major issue that comes up when social networks are discussed is its perceived value within an enterprise. From the employee perspective, it can be viewed as a positive factor. However, on the other side is the contention that social networks are the cause of a reduction in productivity. Just recently, there was a huge uproar over banning Facebook in the office environment. The relation between social networking and human evolution would indeed make an interesting study.

How does your organization view the emerging trends in social networking? Are they being incorporated in the organization or blanketed out?