Social Networking

subset of Social Software focused on people linking to other people (in hopes of getting money or sex via Weak Ties - Networking)

Danah Boyd aims for a definition: a category of websites with profiles, semi-persistent public commentary on the profile, and a traversable publicly articulated social network displayed in relation to the profile.

  • John Hagel compares such sites on how they handle Connection, Creation (of Content and Digital Identity), and Collaboration (Commentary, Conversation, and Construction (D And D)). He also connects this to Urbanization: Far from substituting for urbanization, social network sites will increase the value we reap from locating in urban environments. The two will play off each other in interesting and unexpected ways.

FOAF may be related

MySpace, FaceBook, Friendster, LinkedIn, Ryze, etc.

my take:

  • I think the biggest problem with the Social Networking sites is the lack of purpose, resulting in a lack of Context to anchor the Model-s of desire/behavior.

  • Perhaps Marc Canter should tweak the OpenReviews vocabulary to make a version for reviewing people in the context of actual meaningful interactions/transactions. That would be some real Reputation Management...

  • the Blogosphere may be the best Social Networking environment

    • I get uncomfortable these days hiring a programmer who doesn't have a WebLog

    • just last week I identified a project that's stand-alone enough that I felt comfortable outsourcing it to a new independent contractor - after thinking about whose stuff I read, I realized that I "knew" someone with a pretty ideal mix of experience, so I contacted him, and now he's working on that project.

Amy Jo Kim has similar thoughts. What I see all around me now are networked social tools that have "emergent purpose." This is an old theme in new clothing - the "build it and they will come" belief that connecting people is Step 1, and the purpose and Business Model for a cool online social tool will emerge over time. I saw a lot of companies fail as they followed this ethic - particularly those that created and marketed FREE tools & services built around chat, message boards and virtual worlds. The companies who made real money connecting people online - Amazon, EBay, SOE (makers of Ever Quest) - built their community infrastructure around a shared, meaningful activity other than pure socializing.

Danah Boyd makes a similar but different (and also valid) point. Fundamentally, Context is missing from what one is presenting... This articulated concern suggests that users are aware that, in everyday activity they present different information depending on the audience.

Jon Udell gets more traffic from StumbleUpon than anywhere else, but still can't get himself to use it often enough to make it smart. The general problem, for me, is that I refuse to invest in closed social networks (Social Networking). Life's too short to participate actively in LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, FlickR, and all the rest. When I met Gary Mc Graw this summer, he said: "People keep asking ask me to join LinkedIn, but I tell them I'm already on a network: the Internet." I feel exactly the same way... Once upon a time, Kim Cameron pioneered the idea of a Meta Directory. Today, he's laying the foundations for the kind of metacommunity that the Internet has always needed to be. My inclinations are the same, although I wonder whether there's still a "market" for a New Market.

  • Feb'2007 update: he is referring to this as "social network fatigue".

  • Jun'2007: Avi Bryant suggests a feature that Technorati (or an RssAggregator?) needs to bring FaceBook-like features to the wild web. Facebook has two killer apps. One is a smart feed, which aggregates and filters all of my subscriptions in a holistic way. For example, if 5 of my friends all post similar items on the same day, it will simply say “5 of your friends did X” rather than showing them to me individually... The second is an API which allows access both to your blogroll data and to your smart feed. There can thus be a photo application where, instead of tagging photos with text the way I do in FlickR, I tag them with (semantic) references to my friends - equivalent to tagging with their blog URL. This then hooks into everyone’s smart feeds.

Would an Open Social Networking Model help?

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