A special report on social networking: A world of connections

Online social networks are changing the way people communicate, work and play, and mostly for the better, says Martin Giles (interviewed here)

Jan 28th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

Illustration by Ian Whadcock

THE annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, currently in progress, is famous for making connections among the global great and good. But when the delegates go home again, getting even a few of them together in a room becomes difficult. To allow the leaders to keep talking, the forum’s organisers last year launched a pilot version of a secure online service where members can post mini-biographies and other information, and create links with other users to form collaborative working groups. Dubbed the World Electronic Community, or WELCOM, the forum’s exclusive online network has only about 5,000 members.

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