Facebook, Twitter log in to bigger premises, longer rolls

The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Wednesday that unemployment is down in the country's largest metropolitan areas, and there are certainly signs that a Silicon Valley hiring boom is on the horizon. In the past month, 1,200 new jobs have opened up with LinkedIn alone bringing on 500 new employees, GizmoCrunch reports.

And as this brilliant infographic of Silicon Valley's "Money Network" shows, the Valley-with its interconnected network of venture capitalists, engineers, angel investors and social media companies- remains the hub of high tech capital.

With money to spend, many of these firms have plans to expand into bigger and better campuses-many of them in San Francisco Bay Area. Twitter was able to secure a tax break on Wednesday to build its headquarters in the long-vacant San Francisco Mart building in the city's in-transition mid-Market area (to the outcry of Zynga, which began lobbying for similar treatment). In July, Facebook is opening a new campus in Sun Microsystem's former space in Menlo Park that will supposedly be made to feel like a mini-city. Dell is opening a new 240,000-square foot R&D center in Santa Clara, which promises to create 1,500 more jobs in the next five years.

Facebook future headquarters at Menlo Park

And yet, the entrenched network of tech investors, the flurry to attract talent, and the current building boom, some question whether Silicon Valley is really still the Center of the Tech Universe. Indeed, some are arguing that the "Northeast is rising" as a startup hotspot, citing a study by Boston law firm Foley & Lardner that argues that venture capital funding flowed to more companies in New England and New York in Q4 of 2010 than it did to Silicon Valley firms (The final score: Northeast 97, Silicon Valley: 95).

Then there's Reggie Bradford, CEO of Atlanta-based social marketing platform Virtue, who asks, "Do serious tech companies still need to be based in Silicon Valley?" In the piece he pens for TechCrunch, Bradford tries to make the case that successful startups are no longer tethered to West Coast geography thanks to technology, a growing national emphasis on innovation and the fact that skilled workers are emerging from universities across the country. Plus, Bradford argues, the south has better food, weather and football.

Responses to Bradford's column indicate that there's plenty of room for debate on the subject, although he may just have a point about the football.