Social software is a movement not just a technology

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by: Lynette Webb

Danah Boyd gave an interesting talk recently at Blog Reloaded about the significance of social software. I really like her writing style and she’s great at picking out key aspects and expressing them in down-to-earth terms. You can read the full transcript of her talk here:

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I doubt the point in this slide will be news to anyone involved, it’s something that you can sense, but it never hurts to be explicit. It’s closely connected to the point about a new emerging mindset and “spirit of our age” that I made in the previous slide about Open source.

Here’s Danah’s quote in full:

“Regardless of what you think the term should mean… The fact is that social software has come to reference a particular set of technologies developed in the post-web-bust era. In other words, in practice, social software is about a movement, not simply a category of technologies. It’s about recognizing that the era of e-commerce centered business models is over; we’ve moved on to web software that is all about letting people interact with people and data in a fluid way. It’s about recognizing that the web can be more than a broadcast channel; collections of user-generated content can have value. No matter what, it is indeed about the new but the new has nothing to do with technology; it has to do with attitude”.

To be honest, I’m not sure I agree with her about ecommerce-centred business models being “over” – although perhaps I’ve misunderstood the point she’s trying to make. But certainly, I agree with the rest and think that it’s one of those subtle but profound shifts in attitude to which we still haven’t fully grasped the practical ramifications.

Photo from Flickr CC thanks to David Wallace

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