An Open answer
It’s my prediction that over the next few years we’re going to see a rise of localized social networks/directories. Localized social networks can augment and enhance real world local communities, if the recipe is just right. The first ingredient is key for any up-and-comming project summoning user authentication.
The key to localized networks and other new applications that fill particular niches is OpenID (http://openid.net/). Consistency among user profiles is non-existant. OpenID brings with it a pure, centralized repository for profile management where you’re empowered to adjust the strings of privacy based on sites you’ve opened the doors too. It looks like PIP by VeriSign (http://pip.verisignlabs.com/) is already laying the ground work.
Not only does this create consistent profiles, it keeps track of what we belong to without the hassle of remembering passwords and usernames. Imagine changing your email address in a single location and having it propagate to every social network, online application, bank account and various admin tools. Bliss, and hopefully a reality.