Talk:Social software

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Initial Discussion[edit]

Hello I cant find the differeence betwen Social software and Groupware, are they sinonyms ?

I have a feeling we need to better elaborate on the term. Would group collaboration/project management software such as Basecamp be considered "social software", or does the title only apply to software that is geared towards facilitating socializing? LadyAphelion 02:30, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)

From the examples given - Wiki especially - it seems to me acceptable that Social software can help many people to collaborate and/or work towards a common goal. I think Basecamp would be an acceptable example. People work together to manage a project, have discussions, propose ideas, etc. From the article's definition, I can pull two phrases that would indicate that Basecamp is social software: "facilitate interaction and collaboration" and "virtual online communities." LockeShocke 02:34, Jan 7, 2005 (UTC)
I see. Beyond that, would it be correct to say that all software that allows user interaction (especially in the way of text messages of some sort) is social software? In this case, mentioning chat, message boards, and wikis may be much too little for the actual subject matter. LadyAphelion 02:40, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
There are several more examples that could be - and should be - added, as well as elaboration on the current content. I'm tempted to make this a new pet project of mine, just getting screenshots of these applications/sites and putting them up, as well as elaborating. To approach the definition from another angle, I'd say social software allows people to come together - either to do something relatively meaningless like chat on IRC or to collaborate on a project. People can do either, the software is still social software because it facilitates interaction for whatever purpose - benign or productive. LockeShocke 00:48, Jan 8, 2005 (UTC)
I think an imporant aspect of social software (or some subset) is the ability to bring about new social connections between people previously unassociated. Project management tools don't seem to fit this mode. Whether this is an essential aspect is debatable. A-giau 07:11, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I don't entirely agree that the formation of associations between previously unassociated individuals is the defining attribute of social software. Certainly that is an important subset--people searches were not only one of the most popular but also one of the earliest things to evolve out of AOL and such--but not the defining characteristic of social software. I like the earlier definition, that social software is any software that facilitates communication between people. Whether or not that's friendly relations and whether or not that's making new contacts is for the most part irrelevant. Taking it to the nth level is the difficult part, because it implies universality. Certainly some things, like open chat rooms, are more relaxed and more likely to cause new relationships than other things, like project management software and commenting systems on corporate intranets, but the formality of the situation does not affect whether or not it is social. Does it? Hm. Maybe if it helped a cocktail party.

The question remains. Can you only call something social software if it effects informal social interaction? Or is any interpersonal communication software somewhat social? As in, when it is understood that both the reader and composer using this software to communicate will be human, is that definitively, end of story, social software?

One of the articles linked off this one states, "Social Software tools depend more on social convention than on software features to facilitate interaction and collaboration." On the other hand, there's the slightly wider "Social software, software that supports group communications, includes everything from the simple CC: line in email to vast 3D game worlds like EverQuest, and it can be as undirected as a chat room, or as task-oriented as a wiki (a collaborative workspace)." When do you draw the line between "depend more on social convention" and the opposite? What if you're more task-oriented than a wiki? Group communications, you say. Then yes, it's more universal than we seem to be implying.LadyAphelion

I would like to see a mention of the importance of an underlying P2P technology in much of this, along with a corresponding greater emphasis on the ability to share files in a collaborative or just fun way (e.g. sharing photos without emailing them).DuncanCragg

Answering myself: I've just modified the 'realtime' subsection, which was an advert for imeem with questionable and thin content. I now refer to a number of commercial products with this P2P technology, including imeem. I've removed some of the spam and tidied up a bit, also DuncanCragg

It could be argued that, if IM is in, so should VoIP be: the only difference between Yahoo IM and Skype is that you can hear rather than see the conversation. Also, if Forums are in, so is USENET News - the original Social Software! Apart, that is, from mailing lists! These are all equivalent in functionality and all deserve a place here. Just because they're old doesn't mean they don't count as Social Software... DuncanCragg


"In this understanding of the term, the social is understood to also have a political and aesthetic sense, not simply acting as a kind of glue for a collection of normatively understood 'agents' whose inter-relations are formatted by software."

Say what? A bit jargony for the casual reader. Wikipedia is intended for a general audience, not an academic one. Rewrite, please! --Bo-Bo Belsinger 00:02, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Notes on Lead Paragraph Cleanup[edit]

This is an important concept, and we need to work together to get it right. Rather than fight over the definition, I've written a lead paragraph that builds the definition uncertainty into the discussion from the get-go (I believe this accurately reflects the multiple ways in which the term is used).

I moved the following paragraph here:

The term also arose in the late nineties to describe software emerging out of alliances between programmers and social groups whose particular kinds of cultural intelligence are locked out of mainstream software. In this understanding of the term, the social is understood to also have a political and aesthetic sense, not simply acting as a kind of glue for a collection of normatively understood 'agents' whose inter-relations are formatted by software. What both positions share is an understanding that particular design decisions and the grammar of interactions made possible by each piece of software is socially significant.

This sounds fascinating, but (as Bo-Bo Belsinger observed, supra), it's "a bit jargony." I'm not sure I understand what the author is getting at. Still, I think there's an important point here. How about this for a translation?

In the late 1990s, as more software developers grasped the significance of social software, efforts to build prosocial features into software gained momentum.

Examples? Bryan 16:14, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

"prosocial" is jargon. It also misses the point of the original paragraph, which is that a kind of consciousness developed among some software developers about the insularity (and elitism) of their software, and they made an effort to solicit/design for new groups of users. However, as simple as that sounds, there's a LOT of history that's being left out. How they got to that point is significant, because it's a confluence of technical, political, economical, and philosophical factors. -johnk 10:28, 20 July 2007 (UTC)


the anonymous ip address did not provide any argument for the merge. i removed it. --Buridan 16:09, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I am the anonymous IP, and I have commented in the other article. Blowski 21:24, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

feel free to return them if you haven't then. if you make the argument as an anonymous, that would've been cool, but without any post... a random merge tage looks very much like spam. --Buridan 23:54, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Social Search[edit]

Hi. I started editing an article someone started called social searching but then I thought that it might be good to merge it with this article. Any opinions or advice? (Toritaiyo 17:16, 3 October 2006 (UTC))

Tools versus services[edit]

Since most social software now combines traits of multiple tools, dividing the modes or tools of interaction from the types of services built on them, had to happen sometime. So it just did. Also regarding the claim in this paragraph:

Implicit social network search engines allow people to filter search results based upon classes of social networks they trust, such as a shared political viewpoint. This was called an epistemic filter in a United Nations University report from 1993 which predicted that this would become the dominant means of search for most users.

This prediction was in the State of the Future Report, 1993 from the American Council for the UNU and was released by the UNU in 1994. Could be that epistemic filter should redirect to epistemic community since the former seems to create the latter.

Software or Service[edit]

I`m kinda confused. Was searching the web for a software to provide a social bookmark service to my users and found that section here. now, there is a lot of servicec linked under "software" but non of the links actualy sends me to a downloadsection for sb softare.

History section[edit]

I have suggested that the article History of social software be merged into this article. The "History of social software" article is actually more of an essay, but there may be enough sources and additional information there to constitute the basis of a short "History" section in this article. -- Black Falcon 23:26, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I started the History of social software article but have not got back to editing it more yet. I'm dedicated to working on it the next couple months. I had imagined it could get fairly long depending on a fairly broad interpretation of what constitutes social software. This is my first article so I will follow the lead of more experienced folks. If the goal is to keep things relatively short and/or do more linking to related topics, then let me know. If the introductory part is too much like an essay vs. encyclopedia entry, then let me know too. I kind of plunked it there and understand it needs to be edited.

- Rick 11:09, 19 March 2007

Tools for online communication[edit]

I'm not clear on what the original writer means by communication tools v. interactive tools. The way the paragraphs go, they sound almost identical. Anyone have an idea what these paragraphs are supposed to communication? RedPen

I also don't see why we need ot have such a loong list and such wordy descriptions for each of the supposed "tools". First of all, not all online communication tools are necessarily "social software". Second, if each has its own article, why do we need to repeat descriptions here. If anything, this should just be a list of wikilinks. Angrysusan (talk) 17:30, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Disambiguationally speaking[edit]

There is no Wikipedia entry (or search result) for "socialware" which is now the topic for entire conventions of Webstuff. Love26 (talk) 04:15, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Conversational KM?[edit]

I have wikified the term "conversational KM" in this article. Could someone please explain it, or expand "KM" into words, please. --James Chenery (talk) 13:34, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I decided to try and edit this mess. Don't know much on the subject, but I'm focusing on grammar and (believe it or not) spelling. I googled it and found this:[1]-Jennifer%2005.pdf
A quote: Knowledge management initiatives provide the means to accumulate, organize,and access the firm’s most essential asset. Social software, communication tools employing social techniques, instead of software components, to ease collaboration and interaction, has risen to the challenge of capturing knowledge with a variety of methods.
If that is not your version of English, I can't help you! Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 21:10, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! --James Chenery (talk) 13:30, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

OK to move back to original title?[edit]

Since March, this article "Social software (computer software)" is one of a pair with Social software (social procedure). That article is interesting in itself, but as an academic field it's still minor, whereas the topic of this article is major and getting more important all the time. I think almost everyone looking for "Social software" will want this article, so I don't really see the need to distinguish it from the academic field. So if no one objects, I will move this article back to simply "Social software" after a couple of days. Leaving the hatnote to Social software (social procedure), in case anyone really does want that topic. -- Margin1522 (talk) 08:19, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

New Addition - Criticism section[edit]

I decided to add a criticism section.

Much of this is currently unreferenced. Please feel free to improve the section, and please add appropriate references if you have some readily available.

Much of this MIGHT constitute "original research" in the sense that I didn't bother to spend hours looking for journal articles restating something which I think is quite straightforward, and which was apparent to me on the basis of a few minutes of inference - extending from common experience. I DOUBT that it would be considered "original research" in an academic sense. It is unlikely that it would be considered "new" by any recent journal. I do not doubt that many people have thought about this in the past and come to similar conclusions. A very small percentage of these people may have been in a position to publish an article in an academic journal on the topic and claim personal authorship to the idea, but it is highly unlikely that they were the first or only people to develop these ideas independently. In this sense, the section should cite "Public Domain". Nevertheless, if you are a purist [1] and insist on having a citation[2] for everything[3]. Please feel free to find some and add them to the section. Thanks.

Regards, Gerhard Holt

Criticism [edit] Exponential generation of resource consuming negative externalities

When a person or business sends a message to a network of people this generates an exponential process that can consume considerable amounts of resources - most importantly human time. This can have a beneficial effect on those interested in the message, but can also consume time of people not interested in the message. It can also create in many a social obligation to look - albeit briefly - at the message - particularly when it is from someone you know or consider to be a friend.

When a message is completely unwanted and unsolicited, this is a form of information pollution and is often known as spam. When a message is from a network of friends, and wanted by some but not all, it generates negative externalities in that it consumes valuable resources (time).

Some examples :

Bill sends an email or social message to 20 friends. Of these 2 are very interested, 8 become interested, the rest aren't interested but may read all or part of the message anyway, spending their time. Some of these 20 people will forward the message to their friends. The process repeats - resulting in an exponentially increasing consumption of time by those uninterested in the message (as well as an exponentially increasing consumption of time by people who are or become interested - which may distract them from other more productive tasks). Eventually, when the expected number of people forwarding a message drops below 1, the process dies out, but in the interim it may circulate widely - resulting in a potentially massive waste of resources. Much of the time wasted will be due to a sense of social obligation to at least scan or check on the title of the message. [edit] Social Networking in a work environment

Bill works for ACME company and sends out an email memo or network message to 20 coworkers. Some have to read the message (for example if Bill is their boss or a senior person in the hierarchy), others will just scan it - even if they are uninterested. Some may comment on it - sharing the response with multiple recipients, others may forward it to others. Some may not want to read the message, but may feel obligated to read and respond. The outgoing process of sharing or forwarding takes very little time, but may produce exponentially growing time demands on others. Over time, employees may find more of their time devoted to social networking demands at work - including scanning, reading, commenting upon, forwarding, and responding to messages. These social work-obligations may crowd out more productive activities resulting in longer hours with less efficiency.

In a sense, social networking at work is similar to a large ongoing group meeting. Sometimes excellent results occur, but other times major amounts of time are wasted. Sometimes output benefits from everyone's input and ongoing consultation, other times, individual work without constant obligation to check in and gain consensus may be more productive. The output of a "committee" is sometimes worse than that of an individual or small team.

[edit] Information overload and arbitrary filtering of communication

As information supply increases, the average time spent evaluating individual content has to decrease. Eventually, much communication is summarily ignored - based on very arbitrary and rapid heuristics that will filter out the information for example by category. Bad information crowds out the good - much the way SPAM often crowds out potentially useful unsolicited communications.

[edit] Downsides of ubiquitous social networking = [edit] Cyberbullying

(See Cyberbullying). This is a stub. [edit] Groupthink and Conformity

(See Groupthink and Conformity). This is a stub.

Peer-to-peer social networks[edit]

Removed the entire paragraph since of all examples mentioned in there only Collanos actually operates peer-to-peer. Most of them are social applications in a client/server architecture, which may deserve a paragraph, but written with more knowledge, please.

Actual peer-to-peer social networks hardly exist yet (see also Talk:distributed social network). Since according to this document anything that involves several people is somehow social, a link to private peer-to-peer would probably be appropriate.

The suggestion to merge with distributed social network is misplaced as that document actually describes the federated social web (all of them are web services interacting in a federated, not distributed way) and should therefore be mentioned in the lower part of the Social network services paragraph.

If I encounter no objections I'd be performing appropriate clean-ups in the coming days, but feel free to do them yourself. --lynX (talk) 17:09, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Who is Dale McCuaig? (28.1 Timeline)[edit]

In section 28.1 Timeline there's a sentence:

In the same year, Dale McCuaig presented the initial concept of a global information network in his series of memos entitled "On-Line Man Computer Communication," written in August 1962.

But I can't find any references anywhere else about Dale McCuaig and I think On-Line Man Computer Communication was written by JCR Licklider and Welden Clark, as cited here: Might this work have been erroneously attributed to Dale McCuaig?

Thanks for your help.

Prescottindigo (talk) 18:57, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Improvement of the Social software article[edit]

I'm proposing these updates to make the page stronger.

  1. Content edits and organization of the first paragraph.
  2. Add more content on the ‘Types’ section. Some of the social software types only have a sentence or two as a description.
  3. Update ‘Emerging technologies’ section by adding a more modern definition.
  4. Update ‘Groupthink and Conformity’ section by adding content. This section contains no description.
  5. Citation updates: There are several citations needed.
  6. Article cleanup: Section organization.
  7. Add content to cyber bullying. A introduction paragraph.

Mek135 (talk) 16:02, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

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