I first learned of Bebo.com a week ago, when a college friend living in Hawaii sent me an e-mail asking me to enter my contact information into the site's database. When another friend, this one living in Oregon, asked me to register for Bebo.com as well, I became convinced that the site -- which claims it can prevent people from losing touch with one another -- could be the next big thing since the paper address book.

In today's day and age, when many people change their countries and states of residence every few years, Bebo.com offers an automated, yet simple solution to keeping up with your friends' ever-changing contact information. Every three months, it sends e-mails to all contacts you've entered to see if any of their contact details, such as their address or phone number, have changed.

The beauty of this approach is, you never have to enter their new data in yourself. Your contacts will update your database for you.

But Bebo.com is a lot more than an address book. The site will not only help you keep track of your contacts' moves, but it will also help you facilitate long-distance friendships. The site allows friends to view each other's photos and journal entries.

Basically, Bebo.com is a different take on social networking, already well exploited by companies like LinkedIn.com and Friendster.com. Only while most other sites are trying to create huge networks of people, most of whom don't know each other, and have rather ambitious goals (Friendster.com has 13 million users and can function as an online dating service, or as a professional networking tool), Bebo.com is simply trying to be a better address book. You only keep in touch with the people you normally keep in touch with.

That's a concept that instantly makes sense. That's why I think Bebo.com's use is spreading like wild fire.

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