Tag Archives: socialsoftware

Why this blog? Folksonomy as integration element

Why did I build this blog now? To demonstrate the power of tagging and of folksonomy as an enterprise collaboration and communication tool. There are several key parts of this integration picture that have finally come together (at least for me).

The first element is the growth of tagging – the ability of users to assign key words to objects that they place in a repository. Tagging allows users to mark URLs in del.icio.us with keywords that describe those URLs. Tagging allows users to mark photo that they upload into Flickr with key words. Tagging allows bloggers to mark their entries with key words that Technorati will capture. All this tagging builds a folksonomy – a taxonomy of the people, by the people for the people.

The second element is the growth of simple HTML, REST or RSS interfaces. Many of these interfaces have guess-able formats. If you want to get a list of all of my objects (URLs with descriptions and tags) from del.icio.us, you enter in the URL http://del.icio.us/jimphelps. If you want to see just those objects that have to do with folksonomy, you enter http://del.icio.us/jimphelps/folksonomy. Pretty easy to guess to the rest. The interfaces that Flickr, Technorati and del.icio.us expose are very simple to use. This means that people have started building cool stuff against these interfaces.

The third element is the open source movement around these services. Many people are developing code that leverages these various services. The code is out there and available for use, expansion and adaption.

Those key elements let me construct this blog as a demonstration application of the power of folksonomy and integration element in enterprise communication and collaboration.


Importance of Guessable URLs in Social Software

Guess-able URLs are URLs in which a novice user can guess the format. These are often an overlooked but important aspect of social software. If you know about del.icio.us and have a basic understanding of the URLs for del.icio.us, you can make guesses about the format of a suite of URLs.

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Clay Shirky – Ontology is Overrated Presentation Notes

IT Conversations: Clay Shirky – Ontology is Overrated

Clay Shirky gave a presentation at ETech titled Ontology is Overrated. You can listen to the presentation at the link above (ITConversations).

Highlights [with my expansions in square brackets]:

(1) Ontologies are left over from times when we had to file objects on shelves. This is no longer true with data on the web [or in an enterprise].

(2) The ontological goal of finding the perfect categorization scheme for the “essence” of the objects you are categorizing is a false goal in this era.

(3) Library of Congress categorization scheme (hierarchical buckets without overlap between buckets) is optimized for numbers of books on the shelves not conceptual ideas or intellectual aspects. Books need to be in one place but ideas can be all over the place. We have confused the container for the things within the container.

(4) There is no shelf. There is no physical constraint that we have to enforce upon the web.

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Event & Venue Database (EVDB) – Social Sofware Event Calendar

EVDB – The Event & Venue Database

EVDB is an event calendar system based on open contributions and smart searches. Any logged in member can enter an event. Calendars and Event are tagged like in del.icio.us. The software suggests a list of popular tags (this would help with stemming of tags – Mac, MacIntosh, Apple, etc.)

When creating an event you can tag the event and mark whether the event is free or for charge. There is a Venue Search function (you can see charge-back forming now). You add the traditional information (Time, Date).

Smart Calendars are calendars based on search terms (here comes the folksonomy and social part). You can build a Smart Calendar then share the calendar with others. You can also subscribe to Smart Calendars via RSS or ICAL. Very cool.

This system does not displace the enterprise calendar application which has a strong requirement for group scheduling where all must attend. EVDB looks like a great system for one-to-many, make-it-if-you-can events and as a tool for discovering events of interest in my area.


The Long Tail

The Long Tail

In The Long Tail weblog, Chris Anderson (editor in chief for Wired Magazine) explores the long tail of markets and social networking. The Long Tail hypothesis states (basically) that the economics of sum of all of the small markets and niche products are greater than the sum of all of the “hit” products. In other words, the latest belly-button pop star may sell millions of CDs but all of the funky 1 and 2 sale CDs will sell even more.

Amazon has more sales from all of the titles that Barnes and Nobel DOESN’T carry (the top 30,000 titles) that the total for the top 30,000. I believe that the same “long tail” effect applies to enterprise collaboration and communication.

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Tagging in WordPress

I have two plugins installed in WordPress for this blog that help connect other pieces of social software. (1) Technotag allows me to insert tags for Technorati in the end of the entry. (2) del.icio.us tagging plugin crawls the post and puts up the little square graphic next to terms that match tags in delicious.

This is pretty cool stuff that begins to knit together various pieces of social software. What would I like to see next in a blog app:

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