Social networks are the future of online life, whether we like it or not. Before the end of the coming decade, relationships with everyone –including family, friends, colleagues, employers, merchants, suppliers, and government agencies—will hinge on your access to these parties, and theirs to you, through online communities of all shapes and sizes.

Social networks are becoming much more pervasive than today’s mass-market communities—such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—would lead you to believe. Before long, many will be embedded in the full range of business and personal applications. In ten years’ time, today’s social networks will have evolved into a powerful, seamless worldwide infrastructure for collaboration, sharing, interaction, and transactions. Many will be integral features of the mobile, broadband, and streaming media services that shape business and consumer life. Many will be secure, robust environments that span across federated public and private clouds.

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