Knowledge Innovation

Unbound Spiral: Social Software

March 25, 2003 09:25 PM

SocialText is running a wiki for PCForum.

Clay Shirky: Social software is everything from chat to group email to games. Three key things:

It's native to the Internet in ways that other technologies are not. Prior to the Web we had other tools for publication. IM was preceded by phones. Social communication -- how groups gather -- has no analog except the table.

It has an inverse relationship of value to scale. Websites are better with more users. But inviting 10,000,000 to dinner or putting 10,000,000 in your Rolodex sucks. The smaller the pool, the more valuable the relationships. The unit of social software is small groups.

Business historically sucks at this. Businesses buy software that matches management goals: locked down and centralized, but social software is the reverse.