Generate tag clouds of friends associated with keywords or friends you most correspond with, etc…doesn’t sound too different than email mining to match experts (see my post from a while back on Microsoft Knowledge Network).
Using your social graph are the kind of things you can do with your social network buddies using apps like Socialistics or the Fuser Leaderboard.
Well now this social awareness is going to be applied to other buddy lists like email contacts.
NOTE: Your social graph extends beyond your immediate social network, it’s something I’ve mentioned before on “groupings”. Slice any data within the greater social network and find people and content by common interests eg. show me all the people in, eg. Facebook, who live in the same city as me, and use similar photo tags to me. This is using your social graph (actually using you) as a filter to discover. A good way to limit this would be doing the same graph mentioned above limited to just your friends network (ie. all your friends friends)…exclude/include mutual friends.
NOTE: the only social graph page I see in Facebook is the Network feature eg. I’m in the Australia network, you can’t create your own based on other commonalities you have with other Facebook users eg. a page on people with the same star sign, a page of people who use similar photo tags as you, a page of people who comment on the same comment walls as you, etc…
So it seems we will soon be getting social networks around email, which just means that it will be like Facebook, but the private message widget (a la email) is the focus. Once this takes off, then email will become just a component and other components will be added, which will eventually be a digital dashboard within a social network (kind of what Facebook is now).
I’ll never understand why Hotmail didn’t go beyond email, into a startpage and then connected into a social network.
This is all happening now and Facebook are leading, but their private message feature really isn’t as robust as email, they should look into buying out someone to bring real email into Facebook…not a 3rd party email widget, but an inhouse full featured email client.
We all know all of the above is going to happen with Google’s various components, they have everything in place. The difference here is that all the Google components are robust products not just lightweight widgets…they have an RSS Reader, email, IM/VOIP, documents, photo’s, calendar, blog, wiki (soon), video, notes, toolbar and various other products. These all come together as widgets on the Google startpage, but they are more than widgets, beyond the startpage dashboard view all these widgets are their own fully-fledged products, as I have mentioned above.
So we have components or products (and their widget versions), some of these like Gmail and IM have buddies (contacts list), then all of these are accessible on a digital dashboard (startpage), and lastly these startpages are connected in a social network (Google have some experience with this with Orkut, their social network product).
Google are going to be a competitor to Facebook, Netvibes and PageFlakes, but with each widget being a robust product on its own.
As we know your Google digital dashboard social network isn’t just about Google widgets, it’s open to 3rd party products from anywhere, as does iGoogle now, and even the more easier with the OpenSocial movement.
The next step is how to cope with information and activity in a social network world…the answer to other tools like RSS Readers is we have our trend stats, personalistion/attention filters, and even social network RSS Readers that are helping with link sharing, feed recommendation, and connecting/communicating with your network. Lifestream services also fit into this picture, as do other multi-inbox services like Fuser who are taking a different approach.
The way Facebook copes with friend and greater network activity is via the mini feed and news feed, which doesn’t provide an RSS feed funnily enough.
This in effect is what RSS does, it keeps you updated on activity, only with blogs it’s more explicit, we publish and a new post is in the feed, in a network we publish but we also interact and action stuff (engaging with our network), all this clickstream is documented in your mini feed and an aggregate of all your friends in your news feed. So it’s updates for your publishings and your actions, and there is no reason why it couldn’t have RSS output. But they don’t seem to see this as a necessity as you don’t need an RSS Reader…soon enough when all networks have a news feed or mini feed, then I’d want to aggregate these to read them all in one feed…now that’s an idea for a product. Just like Lifestreams, we could have Activitystreams (maybe a clickstream service like Cluztr could get into this) across social networks and other websites you use. Infact Ziki and Plaxo Pulse, both lifestream services have an activity feed across all your services (but this is only your Ziki or Plaxo Pulse friends). Fuser, the multi-inbox attacks the same space of aggregating your social network friends into one central spot, so aggregating news feeds would be in the same realm.
Another movement in this space is not just your aggregated data, but moving it around, this means it needs to be free and portable. Widgets kind of enable this, but it’s more a window view of your data that lives elsewhere.
Chris Saad, in a recent podcast alludes to or speculates that social network and other personal web data (just like APML attention) will be portable via OpenID, your ID will be you on the web, not just for login authentication, but you and your data…that’s the ultimate goal for the social web ecology.
Things brings us full-circle back to social graphing which is being able to graph the groupings (or slice data) that you belong to in your immediate network and the social network service at large, or perhaps across the social network ecology of the whole web.
The reason we would social graph, is to discover who in my network or the whole network:
- lives within a 10km radius of me…in case of emergency I could blast them a message, video or a presence (tweet) about a fire in the vicinity.
- do I email (private msg), IM, SMS the most (similar to Fuser Leaderboard)
- have a status update with the term fire in the last 3 days
- are an expert in “cars” (via analysing how frequent they use this term, or perhaps by an explicit tag on their posts, or interest profile).
You can slice data anyway you like, to analyse social behaviour; but this is fun because it revolves around you. Not only that but we make inferences from this data and we can action things, just like your local council does a census and uses that data as statistics as a basis to help with urban and social planning. Only in a population census, it’s mostly close-ended data (where you have to fit into a box), so sometimes the analysis derived (and then actions) don’t correctly represent.
Anyway, now we can analyse network data, and make actions and decisions…via the network effect all this individual data is in aggregate, so why not let the people use the aggregate information to analyse the social ecology. It is essential to filter and see patterns to be able to understand more about our environment.
[ADDED 27/11/07: R/WW Thanksgiving: Thank You Google for Open Social (Or, Why Open Social Really Matters)…this seems to mention OpenSocial is not only about an open widget platform, but it’s also about open data eg. your activity, and your friends activity.]