The hottest thing in the last 12 month in the Silicon Valley was Social Software, with Friendster, LinkedIn, Tribe all getting big rounds of venture funding. The whole space got into a feverish pitch the last two weeks since Google opened theirs for beta testing: Orkut. (They require that you are invited to join. Let me know if you would like to do some tire kicking and I will invite you.)
Tribe’s vision is that the social maps will be open so that Internet users can connect with each other regardless of the Social Network they are using. I compare this to the opening of instant messaging clients where you can contact your friends regardless of the service you use. The telephone industry is a good analogy: wouldn’t it be strange if you could only dial friends that had your same phone service? Consumers won’t put up with that kind of limited proposition.
I think people will want their social networks connected to a lot of different sites/services. The social network is valuable not as an independent function but as a tool for getting trusted contextual information-essentially “helping people get things done.” If I go to Amazon to purchase a book or a CD I should be able to see what my friends (and their friends) think about a particular item (if they’ve purchased and or commented on the item).
http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/weblogs?blog=/pub/u/23 [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] and I were talking about SDN, which in our opinion is a very specific social networking site. Would it be beneficial for this community to make friend relationships explicit? When I got an invitation to join Orkut, my first thought was: No, please I don’ t want to fill out yet another profile, I full them out halfheartedly anyhow.
SDN is one of the ‘different social network sites’ that one day will be interconnected to other sites/services. There is a good chance, that the link between these will be somewhere along the lines of the Friends of a Friend project, that is creating a Web of machine-readable homepages describing people, the links between them and the things they create and do. Here an excellent introductory article to the concept.