Social = Me First

Stowe Boyd focused on social applications in his session at Enterprise 2.0

Social = Me First. It sounds selfish, but there’s an important truth here.

In 1999, Stowe wrote an article in his newsletter, Message, in which he talked about a new set of software which he called “social tools: software intended to shape culture.” At the outset, many people thought the concept was “out there.” Today, it is at the core of social media.

So, what are the underpinnings of social applications?

photo of Stowe Boyd by Brian SolisFirst, the individual is the new group. The reason that we all use these tools is related to our passions, our desire to connect with people or our desire to connect with markets.

The edge dissolves the center. We, the edglings – the people who are living our lives through these technologies – are dissolving the traditional power centres and redistributing it to the community.

The notion of belonging has shifted to bottom up. I define the groups I belong to through the company and friends I choose, not because an organization has accepted me for membership.

Unique markets can be made out of the wants and needs of the community that I assemble. And this provides an opportunity for innovators.

The buddylist is the centre of the universe. I am made greater by the sum of my connections and so are my connections. And I decide who is interesting to me and what I want to share with them. This is the core idea behind all future successful social applications.

The value of the network application is based on the number of connections that it facilitates and sustains.

It’s really about discovery. Discovery is the primary abiding motivator. They are looking to discover things, places (the Third Space), people (who fill the places) and Self (at the still point of the turning world.) So, the final measurement of success in a social application is how well do you help people discover themselves.