16 March 2007

Mapping Social Networks

Social networks lie at the heart of Web 2.0 - and of the opens. So it is surprising that more hasn't been done to analyse and map the ebb and flow of ideas and influence across these networks.

Here's an interesting solution for enterprises, called Trampoline. There are clear financial benefits for companies if they can understand better how the social networks work within (and without) their walls, so it's a good fit there too.

In a sense, all this stuff is obvious:

We humans spent 200,000 years evolving all kinds of social behaviour for accumulating, filtering and passing on information. We're really good at it. So good we don't even think about it most of the time. However the way we use email, instant messaging, file sharing and so on disrupts these instincts and stops them doing their job. This is why we waste so much time scanning through emails we're not interested in and searching for documents we need.

Trampoline's approach is so refreshingly obvious it seems radical. We've gone right back to the underlying social behaviour and created innovative software that harnesses human instincts instead of disabling them. We describe this process of mirroring social behaviour in software as "sociomimetics".

Trampoline's products leverage the combined intelligence of the whole network to manage and distribute information more efficiently. Individuals get the information they need, unrecognised expertise becomes visible, the enterprise increases the reuse and value of its knowledge assets.

Given the simplicity of the idea, it should be straighforward coming up with open source implementations. And there would be a double hit: a project that was interesting in itself, and also directly applicable to open source collaboration. (Via Vecosys.)

No comments: