Social Networking! (as cool as hypertext)

March 26, 2008

1993: Hypertext is so boss. It’s like, I’m here, reading an article, and then I click on some blue text and all of a sudden I’m somewhere else reading related content. I gotsta get into the hypertext space and make some benjamins.

2008: Social networking is so sweet. It’s like, I upload my contacts to facebook, and then I have a window into all my friends lives. I gotsta get into the social networking space and make some cash money.


Yes, there are myriad differences between the rise of hypertext and social networking. The point is that they are both merely functions of the internet. No one gets excited about hypertext these days, and no one will get excited about social networking in a few years. It will just be a seamless part of the web experience and most likely not make anybody much money.

When everything becomes social online and off, without the need to be tied to a destination website, what’s the next step? What’s the next piece of functionality that will add value to everything we already can do today? I hope it helps me make decisions. I want to be at a bookstore, text my social aggregator to query all my friends’ uploaded recommendations/likes/blogs/amazon-purchases, and get back a graph of which mystery novels are recommended the most, which the most passionately, and slice the data based on who I trust the most. Now…what to call this function? Instant Asynchronous Social Knowledge (I-ASK)? Idea Nugget Mining (I-NuM)? Freaky Fast Friend Function (ffff)?

Many thanks to the good Brits over at the Economist for writing a great article about Online Social Networks called “Everywhere and nowhere” in the March 19th issue. I’d copy the full link if it wasn’t behind the pay-wall. It sure did start the brain juices flowing.


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