I am a great advocate of Social Media and its power to unleash what I refer to as Social Knowledge. I am also constantly reminded of how you can count on its emergent properties to evolve ever new, rapid and exciting developments, even if it road there can be a bit bumpy sometimes. A fantastic example of that has come to my attention just today with the news of a new service called Path a service that sounds like it might go some way to overcoming the limitations of some of the SM tools that have grown out of their usefulness for some specific purposes.
I also thought Linked In would be as good. I loved it at first, thinking that the way people to open their key networks up for sharing seemed a superb tool. Technology was underpinning and expanding a well used tried and tested idea of personal recommendation. Personal recommendation works on the basis of trust tagging – that is to say if you trust the person that is making the recommendation a bit of that trust is handed on to the person they are recommending. There is judgement there is a knowledge activity involved.
Great ideas. But for me Linked In was scuppered as a knowledge tools when it became apparent that some felt that a public demonstration of huge numbers of links was a metric of success thereby launching a to my mind ridiculous expansion where people linked to pretty much anyone they met meaning that their ability to judge trust and tag was useless. Similarly the mutual recommendation became viral and so, from a knowledge perspective, in the way I imagined it to be used, Linked In became useless. A number of SM tools have gone this way where their success means that there is too much noise for them to be useful in the way I originally envisioned them. However must I confess that meeting the highly insightful Adam Gordon of Winning Work really was an eye opener where he demonstrated tremendous knowledge value from Linked in – but in a quiet different application of the tool from the way ion which I had originally welcomed it.
But for my original wants it remained useless and I argues that Linked In needed to introduce a new service that reflected Dunbar's Numbers and allowed you to express a real trusted core of links that was constrained and validated.
As is the way with Social Media – wait a little while and something comes along and Path it is. Sounds brilliant, not least because it is based on Dunbar’s thinking. Only problem is it requires an iphone, something I don’t have or want. Ah well wait a while and an Android equivalent will come along – it’s just the way of things! You can read more about it here.
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