I was struck by this line in the article Wendy shared: "many short contacts may leave the user wanting deeper, more meaningful exchanges." I think that we could and should leverage these sites smartly to do exactly that: leave the user wanting deeper, more meaningful exchanges. Where do those exchanges happen? For us, they happen exactly where we want them to happen: our amazing forums and our more amazing conferences.
At Alliance this year, for instance, I was thrilled to be able to sit down with people (like Wendy) face-to-face after having Twittered/Facebooked/Linkedin with them throughout the year. Likewise, I really missed seeing people (like Jaap) who were not there, but I was able to stay connected to him via Twitter (real time) as the conference happened.
Social networking online can never replace the richness of working with someone face-to-face. It can and does enhance and extend that interaction, strengthen community and collaboration, and provide a certain efficiency of communication.
As we see these networks grow (Facebook is the 5th largest 'country' in the world now) and as we see the HEUG's mission extend globally, we may want to consider how these networks can help us reach our members. What do you all think? Fire away in the comments.