11 December 2007

Note to self: functions of social networking

Christina Wodtke recently posted some presentation slides, two of which describe the “Webb/Butterfield/Smith Model” of social network functions, as follows:

  1. Identity
    • Profile
    • Connections
  2. Presence
    • Availability of profile via search
    • Network design encouraging frequent updates
  3. Relationships
    • Friends
    • Degrees of separation
  4. Reputation
    • Recommendations
    • Positive moderation
  5. Groups
    • Common interests
    • Signalling acquaintance but not friendship
  6. Conversations
    • Comments
    • Forum posts
  7. Sharing
    • Broadcasting talent
    • Creating resources

I’m posting this model because of its value in demarcating the areas of social network and application design — any successful network or application needs to do an extraordinary job of simplifying at least one leg of the model.

For the sake of focus, I reiterate that social networking fulfills the following objectives for those who engage in it:

  • Formation of new relationships
  • Maintenance and reinforcement of existing relationships, particularly those hindered by geographical or time constraints
  • Conduct of asynchronous conversations
  • Reputation/image management
  • Contribution of capital to the “gift economy”
  • Measurement and/or development of support for specific social/political/professional/business goals

Not all networks need to fulfill all goals.

1 comment:

jamie said...

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