Skype: A Social Network?

Should eBay turn Skype into a social network? One expert I talked to believes the answer is yes -- and that it won't take much to turn Skype into a serious rival to MySpace and Facebook.

Yesterday, I talked to Jon Arnold, principal at telecom consultancy J. Arnold & Associates, about the future of Skype. And he said he believes that Skype could be turned into a successful social network.

Consider: Skype has some 220 million users, vs. Facebook’s 40 million. About 20% of these Skypers use the service all the time. They can already message and call each other through the network. They are already able to exchange files (in fact, that capability is more developed on Skype than on many existing social networks). If only Skype made it easier for people to post and exchange photos and videos, and allowed for postings of longer profiles, it could rival MySpace and its ilk, sustained through advertising and sponsorships.

The problem is, eBay doesn’t see Skype as a social network, says Arnold. The auction giant sees it as merely a phone service. Perhaps it will take another owner to transform Skype into a Facebook or a MySpace.

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