I was going to compose a post about how social networking is not just a fad for "younger" people (which of course means it's not going anywhere once we all grow up, right?). But after Marc ripped on Steve's quote (above), he wrote the post for me: Social networking and the Geocities fallacy.
But there's always more to say when some "older" person (which of course means irrelevant and out of touch, right?) rips on something new. I don't mean to offend (I don't believe either assertion about age), I'm just pointing out the arbitrariness of SteveB's statement. And wasn't he a "younger" person once? And wasn't there something that appealed to him that made him and Microsoft what they are today (have you seen the explosive revenue growth for the latest FY?)
That aside, the feature list comparison between Geocities and Facebook (and Ning too) only points out that part of the comparison is wrong (the feature equivalence). What's more interesting is that the idea behind social networking a la Facebook/Ning is both new, and more importantly, useful to society. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that contact with friends is not a fad, and that technology supporting that, facilitating that, enhancing that is relevant, valuable, and sustainable. I wouldn't say I'm an expert in social networking, but I think staying in touch with friends and colleagues helps me achieve my potential. And that reminds me of someone's mission statement.
By the way, I just joined Facebook :) It's pretty cool so far. I'm pretty pleased with my 27 friends in under 24 hours. I've actually chatted with (good) friends I haven't been in touch with in years. Some of them are married, god forbid ;)