June 27, 2006
Trends in Social Software by Burton Group
At first, I thought how can one spend 44 pages of writing effort on a loose and vagabond topic like Social Software (SS), but being in the coming thick of design of a social networking application, my ears were perked and I waded through paragraphs of cliches. But its not such a bad effort. In fact, I liked the definitions, survey of current services/products and authors' notes on SS (Flickr, delicious etc.).
The trend within actual corporations has been quite quiet. McDonalds and Avon think they may be able to garner some value via blogs which mashup corporate agenda and personal speak. However, I wonder who was the airplane company employee fired for blogging out loud.
Anyways, the report says, as far as larger institutions are concerned to put SS on the emerging technology list. i.e. Strong reasons do not exist to jump right into public social bookmarking or blogging. However, use the technologies with specific applications.
I have always been saddened by the fact that 'blogging' loses its charm when its treats the world as its audience. Blogging to an established audience provides impetus to use the tool and use it well. Like the McDonald's blog is done by their VP, who is a PhD and talks about nutrition and quality of food (yeah :~). But an established audience brings out quality in communication via these mass social cannons of opinions that blogs are. I remember reading somewhere during the dawn of blogging "Any lunatic hiding behind a fancy template can produce a blog..." - implying the lack of quality. In Higher Ed, if teachers ask students to blog (or use any other SS) with exposure to assessment and/or grading - then the quality game becomes exciting. Google Jockeying is one such example of a vagabond classroom trend being tamed by the instructors for pedagogical benefit [See 7 Things You Should Know About Google Jockeying].
Another application of SS that struck me was usability studies. I have seen website design/redesign discussion spread out over months without much to see. If the content-owners decide to be flexible about content placement and navigation design, they can base it on SS use on their sites. e.g. Allowing the audience to tag what they like and then reviewing the toplevel navigation links based on the folksonomies (tag clouds) generated would be helpful in design.
The report recommends: 'Allow your IT developers to use "Ruby on Rails / AJAX"'... mmm... a good comment but totally out of context, maybe. Just maybe.
Posted by rdivecha at June 27, 2006 09:42 AM