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Mapping the social media landscape

I’ve been writing and thinking a lot lately about social media. Actually, it’s mean in the reverse order, mostly. I generally think before I write, though as editor Francesca Forrest would tell you, she sometimes needs to tell me what I am trying to say. These articles on social media will be published in January, but I want to start getting some feedback. Especially on what I think is the first rationale scheme for organizing social networking technologies. I’ve looked at others and have never been able to make sense of them. And what do I mean by ‘sense’? Simply that I would be able to remember the basic structure or organizing principle and then apply it to some new program. Second Life, for example, which I hadn’t looked at when I wrote this. But it can easily be shown to have possible application within several of these categories.

What I haven’t yet done is detailed mapping of the actual technologies, but that’ll be next.

Activity Comment Traditional Tools Contemporary Tools
Knowledge Management Humans have been storing information for at least 50,000 years, for personal reuse, to share with others in their community, and to hand down to future generations. They have also found ways to acquire information and knowledge from others, through observation as well as by intentional transmission. myths, folklore, oral traditions, marks on natural objects such as trees or rocks, tablets, scrolls, monumental inscriptions, books, drawings, maps, letters, diaries, reports relational databases, forums (also know as bulletin boards, or BBSs), blogs, wikis (shared online text editing) visual representation tools (mind maps, whiteboards), content-sharing software, directories, online maps, search functions, consensus web filters (memediggers)
Collaboration Humans have always worked together, in hunting and gathering, in farming, and in industry. Collaboration requires the passing on of expert knowledge, the exchange of information acquired while work is in progress, and practical ways of dividing work to maximize productivity. men’s houses, initiation ceremonies, rites of passage, work teams, manuals, training programs, direct instruction, on-the-job training wikis, visual representation tools, online conferencing
Relationship Management Our connections with other people include intimate relationships, community ties (multiple, overlapping, and less intimate), and professional relationships. Relationship management also includes conflict resolution, mutual aid, and charitable activities. Personal display and ornament, hierarchy, and status are aspects of relationships that are also reflected online. music, dance festivals, drama, letters, diplomacy, marriage, joking relationships, feuds, trade, diplomacy, war and peace making, religious rituals, telephone e-mail, instant messaging, VOIP telephony, blogs, forums, people-connecting software and their associated spaces (MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.), content-sharing software
Entertainment Our ancient ancestors spent a lot of time enjoying leisure-time activities; the extent to which we indulge in online entertainment and gaming might not make them bat an eyelid. The physical isolation and inactivity of online leisure activities, however, present serious drawbacks. music, dance, drama, literature, poetry, art, sports, games, clubs, gambling chat rooms, MMORPGs and other online games, offline role-playing games, collaborative writing, poetry slams, crafts forums, online gambling, content-editing tools (e.g., mashups)

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