Interesting that Rollins will be hosting a couple of workshops that will be much concerned with social networking software and OCLC just published "Sharing Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World."
Odd that OCLC concentrated on this aspect of social networking.
Not surprisingly, they find that the general public and two sub-groups -- college students and U.S. library directors -- see little role for libraries in building online social networks for their communities. The public think libraries are for learning and information, not for socializing.
I agree (not with the socializing part. As an undergraduate I spent a lot of time socializing in this reading room at Sheffield.)
I don't think we have much of a role in building social networking sites. I just don't think that our users are invested enough in the information resources provided by the library to devote much time and effort to linking them to friends or to find friends via a common interest in our resources. If there is a role for libraries in social networking, then it is in us joining existing networks like facebook and making our resources and services open to existing networks. Brian Matthews at Georgia Tech is on to something with this, but I don't think he is building seperate networks.