Monday, October 13, 2003

Social networking

I’ve been a Ryze user for a little over a year (my Ryze page is here). In that time, I’ve rekindled a couple of friendships (one was more than 10 years old) and cemented several friendships with people I’ve met online.

But there’s been a lot of press attention focused on the social networking phenomenon — last week’s article in Fortune was just the latest that caught my eye — and I’m wondering what your reaction to the social networking phenomenon is.

The general idea (and I’m over-simplifying here) is to let us each leverage our networks of contacts among each other; if you know people who I want to connect to, presumably these systems will help me do that. It’s an interesting take on managing credibility and identity (several of the systems appear to reinforce the idea that you are who you know, or more apt, you are who knows you). But this is a notion that’s near and dear to my heart: as an exec at a CRM company that focuses on leveraging the complex web of relationships inside an organization, it seems that these systems rely on overly altruistic individuals.

That may not be fatal, but it seems limiting. In an corporate environment, how do you encourage people to share what they know? I took the time to look up some people I know (at LinkedIn, I have 12 confirmed relationships on my first day), but is the “average” user going to do that? Seems to me that the current crop of social networking tools are designed for the early adopters among us who are willing to invest time and energy… which begs the question: which sites will cross the chasm?

Some links if you want to know more:

Companies: – LinkedInRyzeFriendsterTribe

A few articles: – Ross Mayfield (Ross is CEO at SocialText, and one of the true visionaries on these issues) – Wired MagazineMSNBCCorante (where’s CSO says that this stuff will just get folded into CRM apps in the near future)

Do you use any of the sites mentioned above? Which ones and why? Feel free to look me up on LinkedIn or Ryze and link to me.

1 comment:

  1. I use Ryze, but probably not as much as I should. I think the concept behind it is great. However it is not going to be a cure all, its just another way to network. I believe it has the same benefits and drawbacks of going to networking meetings, or joing a Chamber of Commerce.

    BTW I added you as a friend on Ryze.