The Economist recently published a couple of articles on social networking versus traditional networking, “Insider Out” and “Joining the Club”. They make some interesting points about online social networks creating more of a meritocracy of networking, after rightfully bashing the unfairness of some traditional closed networking groups. Yes, in theory, people have better information and can more directly access the very best people for each networking need, if they are both targeted and creative in their contacting. The interesting question to me is: Will the new online sites just strengthen the traditional closed ones? The combination of the two is what’s really powerful, so I’d say yes.