Last week, reported that The Economist magazine intends to launch a social network.  This partly stems from its Project Red Stripe that aimed to produce something innovative with the company's expansive library of quality content but then fizzled with hopes of an altruistic social site.  While the idea is noble, there are many other sites out their now that connect people those who they can help.

For awhile I thought that news sites creating their own social networking site was great since it would help them lure audience members back more often, but now I'm wary of another social networking site.

The concept is not flawed; it is just the idea that I'll have to create another profile, remember more usernames and passwords, and try to woo my associates to do the same that seems so laborious.

Perhaps the magazine could partner with an existing social networking site that many of its readers are either members of or would benefit from joining.  I understand concerns about relying on another company to handle your information and that of your customers as well as branding issues, but if my sentiments are shared by many other people, forget the success of a social networking venture.

Now, who could The Economist partner with?  MySpace and Facebook probably aren't great possible partners since neither are designed for sustained conversations and debates.  The same goes for LinkedIn, but its professional networking emphasis does should jive well with Economist readers.  On the other hand, Gather is centered around conversation, yet, tries to appease a wide variety of folk.

Are there any other sizable social networks that would suit The Economist well?