Are social networking services nightclubs without dancing?

Young people flock together. They dress up and show off, make small talk and flirt, identify in fashion tribes. At any moment, there’s a hot venue, the place where everyone has to be. And then, suddenly, there’s a new hot place, and the old hot place is shuttered. And then, gradually, there’s a new generation, with different music, different dancing, a different style of gathering. Dance halls, driveins, discos, raves, different generations of the same always-shifting cultural pattern. People who used to be young graduate to other forms of association, related to work, family, neighborhood, interest.
Are social networking services similarly ubiquitous and ephemeral, the same cultural pattern, but with many more people per club and without the dancing? Friendster was the hot place to be, and then it wasn’t. Orkut was in for the technotribe for a few minutes, and then for Brazilians. MySpace is huge right now. Will Myspace carry over to the next microgeneration, or will it be replaced by the next online hangout?
Will generations stay with their network as they grow up, like the baby boomers stayed with rock’n’roll and their parents stayed with Sinatra? Or will they move on to other places? Will other types of online association have greater stability, with fashions that wax and wane over longer generations, like Haddassah and Elks and DFA?

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