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social networking

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Social Networking


from Dave Pollard


What is social networking trying to do? Most of the applications so far offer one or more of the eight features or functionalities shown in blue on the mindmap above:


  1. Finding people (discovering, rediscovering, or locating them)
  2. Building directories, network maps and social networks
  3. Inviting people to join your networks
  4. Managing access to your networks ("permissioning")
  5. Connecting with people in your networks (using various media)
  6. Managing relationships across media (e.g. making the jarring transition from e-mail or weblog-based relationships to voice-to-voice or face-to-face)
  7. Collaborating with people in your networks, and
  8. Content sharing with people in your networks (and other learning, knowledge-finding and knowledge-sharing functionalities that are arguably the domain of Knowledge Management rather than Social Networking)

Read more from Dave Pollard on this


Social Networking in Plain English from Lee LeFever


Social Networks and Online Communities: a Second Order Effect

By David Coleman

David's Collaborative Strategies has followed collaboration software since right after the Second Ice Age.

I have written before about first, second and third order effects of technology. The first order effect was to take things that were on paper and put them up online. This happened between 1995 and 2000 when publishing to your web site was king.

However, with the new millennium, people began to realize that the Internet was really an interactive rather than just a publishing medium. This was a second order effect of the Internet, and built on the first order effect, but takes it further.

So it is no surprise that over the last few years social networks and online communities have been popping up all over the place. People don’t just want to connect to information or content (first order effect), and the frenzy over “Search” that has gone with that--. They also want to connect to each other.


I am surprised that no one has built a tool that deals with the transition from first to second order. For the Internet, that would be a tool that does search like Google or Yahoo, but allows you to search for people rather than just documents or web sites. However, this is what mybloglog.com and peopleaggregator.com are trying to do.


Lots of Options

Probably the best known social network site is MySpace which allows you to share your life, music, pictures, videos, etc. But most online social networks are focused on a specific population or content type: For finding work (LinkedIn), around different types of content (Flickr for photo sharing, YouTube for video sharing, Last.fm or MOG for music sharing). Friendster, one of the pioneers of socail networks is for just making friends or hooking up, LiveJournal for sharing blogs and teen age angst, and Tribe is for affinity groups and is based on a topic or shared experience (Burning Man, Paganism, etc.).

Some social networks are based on age (Friendsover50.com), Facebook for High School or college Students, or race (MiGente.com (Latinos), BlackPlanet.com (African Americans), or even geographic location (Grono.net (Poland), LunarStorm (Sweden), Nexopia (Canada)). There are social web browsers (Flock) and social search (tagging – technorati, tagworld). There are even ways that you can package up Internet information for sharing and comment (Jeteye).

There are lots of communities for dating: Match.com, Yahoo Personals, etc. and even some for the socially conscious (Zaadz). There is even a growing trend in mobile networks with people on cell phones (MyGamma, MoBanGo).


Network or Community

Wikipedia defines online social networks as “Social networking also refers to a category of Internet applications to help connect friends, business partners, or other individuals together using a variety of tools. These applications, known as online social networks are becoming increasingly popular.”

Often the term Network or Community are used interchangably, but they are not the same. The best definition I heard that differentiates the two was from Amy Jo Kim (The Author of Community Building on the Web) once made this distinction at a talk I heard her give“ a network is composed of loose ties, often the focus is on a topic or particular type of content or behavior. A community may have the same focus but the ties are stronger. No one misses you in a network; they might if you’re a popular and vocal

member of a community.”




An Adoption Strategy for Social Software






Diagram from Group Magic: An Inquiry into Experiences of Collective Resonance (c) 2003 Renee A. Levi

Renee Levi's thesis focuses on collective resonance:

Collective resonance is, by my definition, a felt sense of energy, rhythm, or intuitive knowing that occurs in a group of human beings and positively affects the way they interact toward a common purpose. The word resonance means “re-sound,” which indicates a flow of vibration between two things, in this case two or more people. This study focuses on this aspect of group dynamics. Greater awareness and amplification of this level of connection between people and between groups and other, larger forces, I believe may help us find our way back to the knowledge and experience of our fundamental connections to one another and our environment and make greater progress toward our common human goals than we have been able to do using idea exchange and analytic problem-solving alone.

Collective resonance

• is felt in the body,

• contains movement and rhythm,

• involves emotion,

• is felt as a connection to others,

• involves a felt sense of movement of boundaries,

• is high energy,

• includes touch and close physical proximity,

• requires a shift out of the cognitive and intellectual domain,

• is felt as a connection to self,

• feels calm, grounded, and relaxed,

• feels like an altered state of consciousness,

• contains awareness of an energy field,

• is felt as a connection to spirit, and

• requires total presence.


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