This is all well and good, but...
...it seems a little clumsy, inefficient, and challenging. What I mean by this is mainly the outlets from which users have to work with. Building social networks using the various software tools available is great, IF they can find others. It all seems too decentralized to me. The following will explain this further.
Connect! Chapter 6 is chocked full of websites and tool sets for communicating. This is all great and wonderful, but the problem comes down to... which one(s) to use? Most people can’t possibly use all of them all of the time, nor do most people even know about most of them. They typically hear about the popular ones and those are the ones that get used, for better or worse. But are so many different systems really necessary? Could a system be made that integrates ALL of the communication outlets available? Could this be accomplished without the constraints of Intellectual Property Rights? It would be my desire to say yes as that would make truly global communication a reality.
So, how could something of this magnitude come about? Wikinomics makes reference to various companies (namely Google and Amazon) that reward and integrate new and interesting systems into their own. This would be a key developmental concept to keep in mind. My view is that there are too many windows, screens, and general clutter on the computer desktop to effectively maintain solid social networks while trying to get work done.
Currently, I have 3 windows, 6 gadgets and about a dozen or so web tabs open. Each of these is necessary to be connected to the social networks for class and for getting assignments done for my other courses. Half the time I lose windows in the clutter or close something that needed to remain open.
I do have ideas floating around my head, but they would require people who actually knew what they were doing to implement. First would be to integrate all of the social ports into a single system. One name links all of your info within a secure network. It would run from the desktop background rather than a browser window so that it would simply feel like the desktop of the computer. All of your friends, contacts, coworkers, etc would be simple moveable tabs with rollover capabilities under multiple programmable categories. Further, messages could be instant, emailesque, or urgent depending on the length, status of the recipient, schedule status, etc. One key component would be to make it feel like an organic user interface. Moveable, selectable, scrollable, fluid, possibly even 3D. It would use a p2p system so that no one server system would have to be bogged down at any given time. Automatically connected unless otherwise specified and fully integrated into the desktop itself.
Now this was just my brain hiccup in writing, but I think it’s important to write things as they come to you and even better to share them with your peers. I just think social networks are simply being bogged down by the decentralized systems through browser based programs. I understand that browser based programs are portable across platforms, but with the advent of IBM hardware in Apple machines, I think that the days where incompatibility completely inhibits cross platform networks, are coming to an end.
1. Tapscott and Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio Hardcover, 2006. Pg. 183-212.
2. Zelenka and Sohn. Connect!: Web Worker Daily’s Guide to a New Way of Working. Wiley, 2008. Pg. 141-171.
As a side blurb, it would also be neat to have translation software integrated. Where a person in the USA could type something to someone in Japan and it would translate "instantly". Just an idea...