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January 6, 2003

Blogrolling & Ryze

Access to hotlists like Napster and Kazaa accelerate my learning about music. When downloading one track I often check the users hotlist. It stands to reason, if they have one song I like they will likely have others that interest me. The same thing is happening with blogrolling, and as a result I am making new connections seeing new sources for material and meeting new friends. Though the strategy with blogging connections is not always the same. Where in music... I would just highlight all the tracks and let them flow onto my disk drive --- when looking at anothers blogroll list I'm interested in those that are different to mine. (Except I would like to be able to share my Kazaa index! like an Amazon wishlist)

And this is where the blog is different to RYZE a community for business networking. In Ryze (see below) I can join tribes and list friends. Makes me wonder... Is there a point where the numbers, content, reputations, and readers suggest that S & J & B should blog together? The semi-smart mob blog is already here. Be neat to know where new conversations are being sparked.

Do I need an interactive blogrolling list? One that presents and learns from interactions with visitors and my visits to other sites. When I add someone to my blogroll, it means I'm learning from them, want to stay current with their thinking. My current list is small. I can currently only sort it on those that are recently updated. If we use the Tipping Point (book insights) then I should expect to have a list of about 150. Most of us would say that's too long to be useful at least at a glance. May as well be random without some metrics and linking suggestions to make it more useful. Focused list options and personalised matching would prove interesting. If Ryze is worth $10 per month then so is this.

I took a complementary step today by finally joining Ryze and surfing around in this emerging community for business networking. My page, and the initial tribe Blogs & Bloggers that via Ross Mayfield provided the incentive to go the extra step. I really would like to see the statistics, just like they show on Live Journal

For some additional KM links see The KMconnection Knowledge Management Product Guide - REV 1.6, December 11, 2002. KM Forums Collecting and 'annealing' the important KM watering holes. This page is part of KmWiki. Started by DenhamGrey

May 27, 2003

Ryze Changes

I've been meaning to write an update on RYZE for sometime.  It featured earlier this year in may pages here and the RYZE homepage has just gone though another iteration.  I had hoped for so much more.  I still believe RYZE has a real opportunity, however, once you lose people or their interest it becomes hard to get them back. 

Dina Mehta  sums up on some of RYZE's latest changes and pulls from a repository of research we orginally did in one of the forums.  She says:

"I had issues with the earlier one too .. but this one's no better. I don't like the look-feel for one, its messy and uninviting. The content gives me mixed signals too! I like the FOAF addition...

It's a good summary and a welcome reminder to come back and summarize my experience todate.  Like Dina I dropped my gold membership and so did a number of buddies at the same time. In fact today was my first visit back in almost three weeks.  That's suggest a problem with the format.  Frankly adding birthdays isn't going to make it more compelling.  Then maybe the audience has changed.

It is a nice reminder to check back with my friends there and write a more detailed follow-up

September 15, 2003

Skype Changing Social Networks

It's all really intriguing. This question of whether and how we should codify relationships with the majority of effort around centralized data solutions, negotiating standards and adoption. I'm thinking there is another route.

Right now Skype has 18869 users online with 240000 downloads. That is more than any of these social networking tools Ryze, Ecademy, Linkedin, Tribe etc.. have ever had on concurrently. The founders negotiated no standards they are simply providing a phone system that works. See Cnet and the quote below.

Let's tie the interesting discussion on relationships and social networking software that's emerged over the weekend to whats happening with Skype. The discussion started with Liz Lawley here and then a great perspective by Danah Boyd here and Matt Mower adds more here. Summed up in Marc's blog as well where he says.

However if Matt knew what it took us to even broach the subject of multi-granularity to the RDF camp and get it expressed in FOAF, he'd know that you gotta walk before you can run. Since everyone's concept of 'friends' is this binary yes or no sort of attitude, it has repercussions across all sorts of issues: user experience, profile interchange, the semantic web, ecommerce and multimedia personalization.

Whether it be for a foundation of federated social networks, enhancing one's digital lifestyle aggregation or as a basis multimedia personalization - putting identity into CONTEXT is what it's all about. Identity doesn't work as a stand alone concept - putting folks into a frenzy about privacy and security. It only works - when it's put into some real-world context.


Well we have a new real-world context. whats interesting is it is driven by voice not text. Most of the above remains driven by text, transactions and regulations. What I want to know is whether or not we should talk. Some text and a profile or additional infomation may help. Around the telephone call are all sorts of "understandings". I'll be interested to see if we have to reinvent them as a result of Skype.

I fully expect people to leave AIM, Yahoo and MSN for Skype. Skype's already carrying a profile. It could be made significantly richer and I'm sure progressive disclosure could be enabled quickly. My question is what access do I want to enable. My buddies and buddies buddies? Those that have read or linked to my blog? Sure! The doctor's office, dentist etc. Yep. Then those that perhaps I don't know but are prepared to provide a verified profile, including those verified to contain no adult content. Concurrently with these lists we have an emerging phone system that may be linked to our knowledge assets. Why can't Google and Technorati be linked to Skype? If Technorati can search Skype blog urls and match with owner names... then we would accelerate exchanges. It could easily be made smart (online or offline) and provide a notification!

Thus blogging / knowledge assets would also have a Skype contact number capability and whether they could be reached now or if they are offline you could offer a notification service perhaps even using Skype that so’n so is now online. Potentially you could make this a Technorati call. You become the call forwarder thus brokering the intro. Ie this person has linked to your blog and is available to talk to you. Similarly when I send a trackback pin, should I have an option to ping Technorati that I'd be willing to talk to the pinged author? There's a lot that could be done here. I imagine Feedster too could start searching online Skype users and link back to retrieved postings.

Similarly I'd like someone to tell me quickly how I add an additional input section to my comments like the e-mail address that enables a Skype callback. Be a lot easier to thank people that way!

Kazaa co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom have a new target: the telephone industry. They've launched Skype, which they claim is the first Internet phone service to use peer-to-peer software. In just its first week of availability, 60,000 people downloaded the free Skype software. Other voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Vonage or Free World Dialup (FWD), needed several months to attract the same level of interest. Tech News - CNET.com

Separately, where there has been some negative blogging around the Eula and possible future charges keep the following in mind. First it is now proven and could be duplicated. Second this is a global phenomena and any charges will have to work accordingly. Lastly, real disruptive change happens when the cost factor means the new product is 10 times cheaper. That can only happen if everyone get online. Pressure your friends and I bet more than a few new businesses emerge.

September 18, 2003

Scotty's Red Ryze

I don't really understand Adrian Scott at all.
... the Ryze thing... what's with this new logo... LIKE WHAT???? ryze.gif
This is exactly what we've been talking about. Branding and Social networks. You know the YASNS. Well caution. Don't jump the gun. It's not finished. Yeah. just first impresssions? Really give them to me. Thought you would never ask.

Well sire it looks a little awkward, bits of the old design intact. No come on now I really want your opinion. Well then I'm really really disappointed. In fact I'm RED with it. DANGER DANGER. That's no sunrise honey... it's the morning after an A-bom. Are you sure you have thought this though? Is it gut or analysis? What's with the colors? It hard to tell. Presume they will play with the left and drop the duplication. Sort of looks like they are short handed. Was this really a good investment in the community. All I wanted was some features. Not a strip bar. There's

no sense of art in a place where artisans play
no sense of personality in a realm of personalities.
no sense of canvas when everyone paints
no sense of action when everyone chatters
no sense of our place just structured space.

Jeez when we talk about branding we talk brand personae and oh high and mighty I see red. I see the red devils work here. Just when I was hoping to get a break from that stinking light blue-grey. You know... White, with spashes of orange and yellow! We were once an innovative community, transforming networks, connecting not red for the hunting.

Wonder if there was a budget for it. Careful, be analytical now. Yep I'm certain it is totally out of synch with what RYZE stands for. Hey do you remember that Ryze research, the few focus groups... the quotes from users, the group on Serious Play sort of kicked it around. Can you remember that far back. Yes sir. It's in my blog --- before categories. Look them up if I must. Shared some with the Ryze folks too. Hmmmm... Check my recollections! Thinkthe comments are on representative. Could the community have changed that much?

Oh man those guy must need a party. Where are Mixers in all this? Where the Guest idea? Didn't you feel like you used to own your page? Yeah I did. It was the first of the soft human profiles. I'm wondering where my home will be now. Gosh what next? A Friendster faceroll? I used to welcome you to my space. I'd check out your guestbook. When you were on my page you were visiting and then I'd go home to the house that Adrian had built for all of us. Dam I can't find the mixer on the beach. Ever been to a Mixer on the beach? Nope but I bet they happened. You sure you are not just mouthing off. Nah.. well maybe. Bet you got a trip to the Bahamas.

Where is the fatal mistake? The evil of the ways? Oh it's coming to me. Yep that's it. the fatal mistake. the emphasis till now on the left was navigation. Holy Crap Batman you mean it has been Amazoned. Yep sure do Robin. Alfred has the lesson. The emphasis on the left was navigation ... . by trying to go left to right with the oversized new indexing tabs... outlined and shadowed... he's usurped my identity.... Scotty's stolen my page. You sure? Yep pretty sure. Before graphically the header wasn't so strong. Now the header and the RED logo are stronger than my name and picture. Oh come now. pack up that frustrated marketer. Go back and whistle techie tunes.

No way I got to get me a link to that touchy feelie research. Now where's those quotes> Yep here it is consumer research? What's it say. Probably said Ryze was refreshing, tickled the parts other sites didn't reach. Was Adrians thing for his friends. Look like maybe he sold out.

The new stuff? Says RYZE first --- ME second. What was the brief? Oh probably make the community more professional looking. You have any recommendations? Is there a strategy? Is there a business model? Ryze could have had it all.

September 19, 2003

Scotty's Red Ryze Simply Stated

Abe thanks for so succinctly putting the Ryze revised brand problem. Let's not hide it in comments. It is a gift.

I the more a I think about logos and community sites the more I think the branding should be so discreet its practically invisible. If the users make the site and the network is the application then the users need to have a sense of *ownership* over the space in order to invest the time to build the network. If the branding is loud then they'll never really feel at home, and when was the last time you bought some furniture for someone else's house?

I think it's real clear in reading some of the keep friendster free messages that circulate on that site that the users really have a sense of ownership, so its no so surprising it keeps growing...

My BOLDING. My prediction. More will be RED on Ryze.

September 22, 2003

Ryze Home - Bad Feng Shui

A smart community is allowed to weigh in on developing its future direction. Scotty's Red Ryze saw follow-ups; "followed up last week with "Ryze - don't let the sun go down". Maybe it was just late night fun. I was temped to let it go until I learned Dina had asked the question in a couple of Ryze networks. So here's the scoop (selected comments are hardly a sample). However the Ryze Logo change is a wonderful illustration for others around which a community forms. Just possibly it will help the team at Skype think though the "community" opportunities they have and the implications for creating an open dialogue.

I like this application of Feng Shui. I'd never thought of it that way before. Not everyone comes at a logo or a community with the same perspective.


From the fengshui point of view, on a page the element that occupies the topmost left corner is wood. the element colour being green. the colour red symobilises fire, which is totally destructive of wood. its not suitable at all.

However if the red logo was positioned in the centre ie. top centre of the page, it would help since the element for that portion is fire, element colour being red.
I will not be surprised if the majority feel uncomfortable about the red in that corner. try changing it to green or blue. it would definitely be more soothing
. Full Quote link
Sandhya Advanii


More community centric are these great observations. Run a contest, let the creatives on Ryze get noticed.

If I were behind the RYZE scene - I would run a contest -
What should our logo look like ? Let:s see your Stuff...BRAND US!
...submissions have a dedicated posting page where WE the peeps get to VOTE.........

RYZE wins all around... they get free graphic design, test market a winning logo that WE voted into being, create an internal buzz that moves them up a notch on the " what can we do for our members" tip, deliver a non-verbal message everybody wants to hear, it's YOUR community and last and most important - all the creatives who submit their work "Get Noticed" - which is one of the reason we are all here. Full Quote linkRosetta Stone


Brings us back to functionalities:

My take on Ryze is that it was the Craigslist of networking. It's not all fussy about site design, and more about function. I think this logo, and the whole direction is caught in the middle. If you want to be simple, then don't have a logo. If you want to build a brand, then do a GOOD logo. Certainly, with all the talent on this community, there had to be someone out there who could have done a compelling logo that's easy on the eyes.
Full Quote LinkMarc Lefton

Which are still underway according to Erlend Wilhelmsen who says.

"As some of you may be aware... Ryze is doing the implementation in phases - thus what you see now is perhaps 15% of the GUI we designed. Obviously, few of the IA or GUI improvements have been made and the visual ID is (clearly) not completed and/or representative of any sort of "brand building" efforts."

December 8, 2003

Wrinkles for Skype Hype

Thoughts on Skype, Skype Problems, Skype Limitations, Skype Hype, Skype Product Development and Viral Marketing. A few things pushed me towards this post.

  • Continuing comments re the proprietary nature and performance
  • My son's Skype usage
  • Impact of potential Skype conferencing features
  • Continued "phone" perspective.

    Continuing Comments:
    Useful perspective was added by David Beckemeyer advocates taking a broader perspective. This market is changing quickly. There's a lot more in play than just POTS and calling granny. I'll take him up on his challenge to take a look at Free IP Call. So far I've not had much success with these types of services. I've not had the trouble that Robin writes about. I'm happy to try new things. The biggest pain is getting functional buddy lists. In organizations that can be forced. As an independent that just means run them all.


    I want to encourage you to think about employing a SIP-based solution, if not now, please keep it in the back of your mind.

    The advantage of SIP for all of us is that it is an interoperable standard, being embraced and adopted by many vendors. SIP is like the 802.11b of VoIP. It means we can (soon) buy phones at Bestbuy and like email, if we have a SIP address with one provider, we can still make calls to people on other providers.

    Skype, on the other hand, is like Compuserv. It is a proprietary closed system. It might even be that Skype today offers a better overall product experience in practice, so I can understand why people use it. SIP-based products and services have to compete........ (read it)
    Unbound Spiral Comment:


    There is no reason not to SIP. Just the functionality that most SIP phones are giving me are less that what I'm seeing over the horizon on my desktop. Instead concentrate for a moment on what my 15 year old son does.

    Gaming:
    He's recently become addicted to playing America's Army. This is not about whether it is good or not it is about the impact that it has. He's found that double teaming with his buddy using Skype increases their chances of success. So he's running the full game sound and listening to his buddy while in the action. I know now that they can't wait until Skype offers a conference capability. The pack mentality of young men on Skype is a scary thought. This won't just apply to America's Army. He plays "Warcraft" etc. The difference is he will be able to choose who is on his team. He's never managed to do that with Socom a PS2 Game.

    In a post on why "Skype Growth is Slowing" I noted that the always on number had slowed while downloads continue apace. Today some 3.5 million downloads.

    Imagine a little scenario for a moment. Skype announces a conferencing capability (see CNET) and provides the first 5 hours free. My son patches in his friends. They win games together. When his five free hours are up his buddy starts the hosting process. Ultimately they will either buy it themselves... or get Mum and Dad to buy it. If as expected this is less than the price of a new game for a year... they will be into it.

    In the theoretical world above, our kids become the first "visible society" members. By staying visible they get called into a game, added to the team. Having persistent identities easily shared within their circles closes the gap between individual PC pursuits and group online action. There is much more Skype could do with games if they would just open up their API. 3-D sound, player positioning etc. That's being promoted by Diamondware who has just won an award for this type of technology. I'm sure they understand player velocities and location. The release confirms tested by the military.

    Conferencing:
    This little scenario also illustrates the opportunity that exists in the business world. Many of us have adopted headsets for interviewing, and typing away at the PC. Using the Skype interface the conference addition could include conferences that your buddies are in and their topic when not private. There are some neat refinements possible to that solution which really impact on the virtual office. In the physical world I'm used to walking down the hall and we have some peripheral sense of where people are. That's not true in todays virtual world. The Diamondware publication above confirms this belief and opportunity. When conferences become visible then collaboration and project management is almost sure to be accelerated. Note this is different from chatrooms for it is difficult to monitor more than one at once. And the one you are monitoring you are participating in, idle or mute.

    Yesterday's post on Accidental Communities begins to illustrate the power of this peripheral vision in another way. To date it was only in the hands of the smartest site managers and network analysts. No more. Those connections can be pushed to personal desktops and become part of PKM - Personal Knowledge Management. This will enable the smart caller id systems and other RSS transport of content and connection information.

    Phone Thinking:
    On the phone we make "connections". With the exception of a few individuals no-one is really experienced in the multi-connect impact of conference calls that can be done on a whim. The phone paradigm and the IM paradigm is built round 1 to 1 and not many to many. Microsoft can offer an option tomorrow for their IM system. Select "text based" or "phone based", similarly so can the others. However, why add to the central server system to handle conference calling. Advantage Skype and P2P telephony, until MS and AOL adopt a similar approach. Could Passport become the Skype cloud?

    I should be able to do other things too. Like drag and drop invite buddies into conversations. See that other meeting rooms are occupied and see the topic. So I can text in... "when you talk about customer x" pull me in. I'm afraid that the telephone discussion only serves to make the course of action that Skype or its followers take even more disruptive. Let's make it a practical example. I'm using Spoke to ease my way into making a new business contact. Spoke locates my best connection and then waits until the "connector" has approved that they will do a voice introduction. Then when all of us are online together and available... the system initiates a call. This has major benefits. No e-mail requests. No connection, message waiting, an easy "yes lets extend this conversation. This can be extend further when an additional caller comes on line while 3-D sound helps the memory by placing them in a location. That is something I've never had on a phone call and am yet to see. This will make for a nice pictorial circle.

    Communicator Connect:
    Skype may not be the answer for this. However, get their conferencing capability running and enable the "ID Exchange" companies to plug in and they will create a new demand where there was none before. Before you know it social networking software may really have value. Ask yourself. Can Skype plug in Friendster, Tribe, Ryze, Spoke etc? See Skype Social Networks / Yellow Pages. Maybe a deal with Match?

    Viral Pricing:
    I'd like to close with an observation. Many may urge me to make a second post at this point. I won't. I want to suggest a viral aspect for the potential conference calling premium package. I found myself testing Glance the other day. They have a one day trial offer. In fact for me the first trial didn't go all that well. It was too slow. However I wrote them and suggested I was just the type of guy to test this product out. They generously extended the trial and I have had some better experiences with it since. However, I don't really have a regular use for it. So how should you charge to enable the viral aspect to take hold? You simply create a scale. A user that uses it infrequently, maybe two or three times a month remains free, unless the sessions are talking hours. Each time they use it they have the potential to infect others. I'm assuming the real target is "sales presentations, training etc". A new user that become a heavy user quickly will find themselves paying for the service. Make 20 presentation in two days and on the third you will be paying... Make 6 in the first month and then the 10th in the second month... and you start paying.

    What is the learning? Provide conferencing free for limited periods. Those that use it irregularly will infect others and get an even bigger feel good factor. It will make them even less likely to turn it off. Turn conferencing off or make them pay immediately and they simply won't. They have to become comfortable using it first. Watch out WebEx.

  • January 25, 2004

    Orkut - Mushrooms

    Orkut launched on Thursday (see CNET) By Saturday morning I had quite a few invites, so I joined up. Is it just another social networking service? Did the implied Google link help? Maybe, but I'm inclined to believe it is more. Here's a taste from Many to Many.

    Observation only.... at this stage... If you are a member of Ryze, Friendster, Tribe, Ecademy, Linkedin or one of the many others you should at least take a look at it.

    First impressions. This one is really viral. It could just be timing and a little competition to see who could get the most names first. Still I think something deeper here touched a chord. I personally simply found myself wanting to be part of it and began adding names and getting responses almost immediately. That is always rewarding. Clearly many bloggers were on last night. After a couple of hours I started inviting people that I've not invited since Ryze days over a year ago and they began joining too this time.

    My suspicion is that Orkut bridges the gap between Ryze (too open) and Linkedin (too closed) without the "everything is for sale" on Tribe. I suspect that those with "Friendster" experience also see it as providing extra functionality. Not all the connections are set up for the instant deal. Most of mine remain blogger and 'online" related. It's user interface is simple and it is quickly giving me the key data that I need to use it as an address book and birthday book etc. I failed to add my Zonkboard to it, thinking that would be neat. Look at Orkut vs Ryze or Ecademy and it's utility as a potential address book is obvious. It's only one click away from my network or my friends page. If I could just export it easily that would be cool!

    The downside? I still don't believe that this system is better than more decentralized peer to peer solutions. Similarly, there is no "presence" indicator. We were all on last night, the numbers and connections just dialing up. However that sharing was all outside Orkut via some IM system or another. IM systems, Skype like, or Humintiy style are much more likely to connect us. Until these things link with voice and text systems they are toys. Of course Google already has every telephone number in it. So Orkut could put Google into the "connect" anywhere business.

    Separately, not everyone is comfortable with the informal connecting and experimentation in these networks. Who are my friends and how do they qualify remains a key issue. Both Ton Zijlstra and Martin Roell comment on the importance of face to face as a sort of credentialing aspect. I'm going to say I find this quite quaint but not the way business or connections are done anymore. It's not to belittle face to face. It would be great to meet both these guy's in a bar and buy them a drink. Lilia picks up on posts here and her Dec 21 post provides a different perspective. I think phone, Skype, lots of blogs, exchanges of work and personal referrals in person from others provides real insight.

    So I thought I'd add a couple of notes on why I'm comfortable adding a person to my friends that I may not have met personally face to face.

  • I believe in all cases I already know someone that knows this person face to face. Perhaps that is just relationship triangulation . I'm also willing to bet that person knows one or two that know me the same way. This may be a weak tie, it is also more likely to result in an interesting connection or a new relationship. If I just want tried and true or a reputation system I'd hope that Xpertweb gets working. It's also a little more than that.

  • Adding as a friend in the context of above means I'm happy to find ways to extend further the relationship. Should someone else in my network want to use me to connect to that person and I'm unsure as whether to go direct then I will simply go to the person closest to me that can answer that question more effectively. I don't mind using some social capital in that way. Frankly that eliminates the stiffness that exists in LinkedIn. It is judgement not a computer that that builds relationships. Help where you can.
  • I've had little time to experiment with the community functions. They were generating very rapidly. I've not seen any numbers for Orkut. However, I'm pretty sure it is already larger than Ryze. I had 7000+ connections last night. If all my invites confirm my direct network on Orkut will be more than twice the size of Ryze and 4 times the size of LinkedIn for just over two hours online. Tribe doesn't really feature in this. I wonder how many others have had the same experience?

    A few "beta" problems have cropped up. As a result Orkut is currently offline.

    March 16, 2004

    Social Networking is Broken

    This slightly facetious statement: "My social networks are broken... at least I think they are." reflects my conclusion that the social networks I've been playing in are for the most part associative networks. While they have a social element the socializing for the most part takes place by blogs, forums, IM / e-mail, phone and in face to face visits.

    After 18 months of experimenting with formalizing relationship structures through Ryze, Orkut Linkedin etc they are really no more useful to me now than before I found them. Oh Orkut is a wonderful place for assembling connections but recently they really suck. Here I am with all these friends and they expect me to recategorize them. Would you try demoting your friends? Try it - see how they like it.

    So how broken are they? Well which one should I turn to if I want to contact someone through one of them? If they are on more than one, which messaging system should I use? The newest? The one I contacted them on last time?

    So now I have these planetary social networks each with their own orbits spread across the heavens. So while I've visited all these places I can't remember the name of the ship that offloaded me last. That's about as damming conclusion as any user (dare I say consumer) of the SN product can draw. However, lets face facts. For the most part none of these social networks are on my desktop, unless I happen to have their page open. And then with the exceptions of Ecademy, Tribe and Flickr they don't let me know whether any of my friends are online or not. As most of the people I really work with either don't use them or are as sporadic as me I still little chance of finding spontaneity within. They all fail for none of them provide the things I really need.

    I saw a post from Stowe Boyd today, planning a review of enterprise social networking services. It made me curious. The dating ones are excluded. For that matter so is MSN, Yahoo, AIM etc from the list. Skype too isn't included. Some little "scream" at the back of my mind tells me that the bundle of failing social networking services listed in Stowe's may not get to the heart of solving the enterprise problem. He wrote up Xfire just days ago. I made an association with Skype on it yesterday. No it is not enterprise ready. But others have the conferencing linking capability. I also tried to get my 15 year old son using Xfire. He discarded it in seconds, "I can do this stuff already" --- not as neatly I respond, "does it have voice?" --- nope, basically end of discussion. Maybe it is only about associating people. However I hope these services will offer something more. For if that is all they are there will be an upcoming backlash.

    For the life of me... When is IM not a social networking device? (Have you ever seen a 12 year old girl reconnect her buddies after taking a new name?) That looks like social networking to me. When are introductions by e-mail not social networking. Or a speakerphone call? It's time to put a stop to categorizing these "things" as social networks. Call them "Associative Networking Tools" or "Structured Association Tools" or something similar. Then you can create a bucket for them. The reason there is no real business model is they are just part of / or component towards building our capabilities to enhance "presence" and connectivity. Most of the friends I network with in this realm also have IM. But step outside and look at the real world and usage is sporadic at best. If we can't get our friends to adopt one of three messaging systems how can we hope to get them to adopt one of one hundred social networking services? Via Dina this comment from Jenny Levine sums it up.

    It's time to refocus the debate and bring in new functionalities and capabilities. For me that integrates with mobility. There's a program which I don't expect to take off any time soon for Nokia 3650' called Pmatch. pMatch allows 3650 owners to learn of others with similar interests or information, without revealing their own personal, private data. In a similar vein Trepia or AirCQ are using proximity and presence to enhance connections. I know not everyone can make the list. Judith had a list of 100. A readable report can't cover them all.

    What have we learned.

  • We don't socialize rather only associate through the Orkuts while we socialize using messaging, telephone and face to face visits.
  • The opportunity to connecting through friends is much greater than generally understoood. Some successes have been achieved.
  • Virtual connections mean managing ones connections and presence has never been more important.
  • Structured services are creating problems where there were none before. From categories to access. And designating "artificial" forced levels of buddies or friendship.
  • Fragmenting association systems does not enable better connections.
  • Integration on to my desktop (address book / IM systems) at minimum and preferably into my cellphone is required for there are few you can synch with and while one can upload addresses you can seldom download.
  • The sites themselves are seldom responsible for the association, the connective knowledge is broader than the networking sites. eg blogs, blogrolls, online forums etc.

    Judith Meskill has been encouraging me to dive into her posts on autonomic networks. This wonderful post has some great questions, and left me with the question at the beginning of the post.


    If you utilize one or more of the current entrants in this swell of online SNS offerings [such as LinkedIn, Friendster, Orkut, Ryze, and/or Tribe] - what value, if any, do you derive from them? And, harkening back to the citation with which I started this post, has one [or more] of these services assisted in helping you to successfully reduce the 'traffic congestion' at the 'intersections' in your life? And, in closing, any insights, comments, or ponderings on the recent and future blurring of lines between 'wetware,' 'software,' and 'hardware' in an infinitely connected wireless world?
    Judith Meskill

    I see this morning that Heath Row is reporting on a discussion of "The Asthetics of Social Networking" at SXSW. Read Molly Steenson's comments. They may just jell with the above.

  • About Ryze

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