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November 04, 2005
A Functional View of Social Networking - Highlighting the Challenges Moving Forward
I have to admit, I’ve always been “soft on” diagrams.
Diagrams are always a great way to tease out, sort, organise, and “reality test” discrete elements out of total ambiguity and confusion. Which is why they are such great tools for both VCs and entrepreneurs to use as a starting points when trying to develop strategies in markets that are not only ambiguous — but may not even be real.
On the flip-side, diagrams can also give us —
1) false sense of authority
a false confirmation of a complex world now simplified
2) premature consensus
a common image embedded in the majority of the minds of an industry can dramatically decreasing “diversity” of views at critical junctures in an industry’s evolution
While a diagram is always very real — what it is describing may not be.
Since the Spring, I’ve been working on a post on the future of social software. Basically, I’m focused on issues of “personal integration” — or how these tools change the environment that individuals interact with. So I’ve got lots of doodles on napkins, index cards, and backs of envelopes in a neat little “social networking project” pile at the end of my big desk covered with lots of other “project-specific” piles.
So I have to thank Michael Pokocky for alerting me this morning about the following post by Dave Pollard — It’s definitely “The Find of the Week”.
First, I love the diagram.
Not only is it purely functional, but it deconstructs the functions behind the manifest features of the current generation of social media or social software.
Using these eight functional categories, Dave shows how the full range of successful social software tools to date (eg., wikis, weblogs, tagging, online communities, mind-mapping, file-sharing, etc) all incorporate various combinations of these categories into their products and services.
I also agree with Dave’s list of “the ten biggest problems” that remain to be solved before social networking can really take off —
- Inflexible, tedious information architecture ("Why is entering this field mandatory?")
- Profile poverty ("This tells me absolutely nothing of value about this person")
- No separation between What I Have and What I Need personas (the information about you I care about depends on whether I am 'buying' or 'selling' -- even classified ads 'get' this)
- Lack of harvesting capability ("Why do I have to enter this again?")
- Populated just-in-case instead of canvassed just-in-time ("Oh, sorry, I no longer work there" and "Oops, sorry, I'm married now")
- The most needed people have the least time and motivation to participate
- Over-engineered and unintuitive
- Lack of scalability and resilience: Centralized instead of peer-to-peer (when it gets too big or goes down, you're out of luck)
- Socially awkward ("I'm not going to tell someone I've never met that!")
- Low signal-to-noise ratio because of dysfunctional information behaviours (blockages, disconnects, lack of trust) -- these need to be accommodated by Social Software tools, instead of ignored
Definitely give his post — a read, a bookmark, a del.icio.us tag — and remember it.
I think Dave Pollard’s Diagram of the social networking landscape is as good a starting point as any to begin building the blueprint of social media’s future.
Posted by cmayaud at 11:30 AM | Permalink| Comments (3)
Del.icio.us Tagging | Digg This | Posted to Blogging | Business Strategy | FIND OF THE WEEK | High-Performance Social Networking | Online Business Networking | SOFTWARE IT | Web 2.0
I love your mind maps. I used the simple 3 letter words. OMV, objective Mission Value in illustrating any subject and also analaysise anything. Because if we are too complex ourselves, we cannot fix and get things done.
That is my opinion. Been a visual person, we see big picture then down to details.
Posted by: edmund chew at November 16, 2005 06:40 PM
Wow, good post with a great diagram. I've been thinking more about this space over the last couple of months, but it's obvious I hadn't gotten very far after reading this.
My thinking has been a consolidation of finding an old record on LinkedIn (where I was literally an island and had no contacts), how I like using Plaxo to keep up-to-date with friends, and how Evite is a regular part of my social calendar.
The upcoming changes to calendars, with a simpler interface and cross pollination between multiple private and public lists is a start, but it needs to go further. I need it to integrate into my business and private contact lists, networking potentials, et cetera.
When I heard about Getting Things Done by David Allen it was a relatively new system without many supporters. Because the system works across boundaries of work, family, and personal spaces it has taken on a life of it's own. Now I'm waiting for a similar rethinking of appointments, contacts, events, and networks.
Posted by: Jeffrey Davidson at December 13, 2005 04:29 PM
The diagram is hermetic, at best. No consideration for the "noise" generated through virually all forms of (self-) presentation of information; especially when correlatives to ("consider-me-above-the-fray") promotion are considered. The shallow rhizomic connections and pathways exhibited via the Pollard diagram are antiseptically lacking in their truer, nearly infinite incursions of metadata's chaotic overlays and entanglements. Without any address of the scalar granularities of network (read: multi-nodal) "cross-talk", the diagram is far too reductive to serve for anything more than the most modest of moot uses. Sacred Cow Dung for sure! -as it just sits there stinking up the place; waiting for the unsuspecting to step in it. Had the diagram -at the very least- indicated potentialities for errant data/signal interweave, it may have been acceptable as Sacred Cow Manure; fit for fertilizing fallow fields of future findings. As it stands, the mapping is merely just one more sweetly-acrid info-plop in the middle of the road...
Posted by: Farmer Ted at March 13, 2006 12:16 PM
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