I recently read an article which pointed out that a social networks value is more affected by the connections made between contacts than by the number of people in the given network.
This is so true, Facebook does so well because its very easy to define connections. Despite its issues Facebook is also actually quite inclusive, It can pull in my WordPress blog and there are a number of applications which can pull external data into Facebook. This is also one of Facebook big strengths, to be able to see an aggregated view of your networks recent activity from various sources on the internet.
Where Facebook really lets us down is by not letting us access that aggregated view through any platform other than Facebook. In Facebook you can also only import contacts from MSN. The ability to import from a number of sources (one of which being facebook) Will make a real difference to a Facebook for the enterprise.
To start of with I would like to import my contacts from
- Internal MSN
- External MSN
- My Mobile Phone
- Microsoft Communicator
By pulling in the data from so many sources we are going to be able to show more relationships and possibly know more about the relationships. I would then want to store internet assets (blogs wikis) against a de-duplicated list of my contacts. In such a setup users would be encouraged to publish information onto public blogs.
I had lunch with Jon Lister today and we had an interesting discussion about the implications of actively encouraging a companies employees to blog about what they are working on. As John pointed out while you give away a small advantage by telling people what you are doing you also get to learn a great deal from the other peoples comments and feedback.