As also realized by the inventors, if an individual can register with the database, for example, by providing professional and personal data, and perhaps other selected criteria common to all (or significant numbers of the users), the user consequently can be linked to a plurality of other such individuals who have similarly provided information based on defined linking relationships.
This quote is not from a LinkedIn or Facebook business plan. Neither company was around in January, 1997 when Andy Weinreich and 12 other members of six degrees, inc of New York, NY submitted a patent application for a "viral" e-mail database (click on the figure below to enlarge).
6,175,831, but their invention was made into a successful innovation by other people, including Mark Zuckerberg. I wonder how much of it was pure luck on Zuckerberg's part.
tags: invention, innovation, internet, social, networking