Social Software

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Social Software

  • What is Social Software?
  • What makes the difference between "soso";-) and other categories of collaborative software?

The term "social software" refers to a range of web-enabled software programs usually allowing users to interact, share, and meet other users. (also see Wikipedia definition)

Clay Shirky has defined it as "software that supports group interaction."


The more specific term collaborative software applies to cooperative information sharing systems, and is usually narrowly applied to the software that enables collaborative work functions. Distinctions between usage of the terms "social" and "collaborative" are in the applications or uses, not the tools themselves, although there are some tools that are only rarely used for work collaboration.

Many advocates of using these tools believe (and actively argue or assume) that they create actual communities, and have adopted the term "online communities" to describe the resulting social structures.

Social software, as opposed to other types of software, takes a bottom-up approach, enabling people to organize themselves into a network based on their preferences

Stowe Boyd coined the term "social tools" to refer to social software applications. He explains why he thinks these tools are different in this video shot at the Unicom Seminars Conference on Social Networking Tools in London, in September 2006.

  • Social Software is social in: (Bryant 2004)
    • the way it is conceived (some people are suggesting new functionalities, some others are providing them)
    • its purpose (the more people are using it, the better it gets!)
    • the way it behaves. (it is content-driven, and the content evolves all the time)



Social Software

  • Social software applications include communication tools and interactive tools.
  • Communication tools typically handle the capturing, storing and presentation of communication, usually written but increasingly including audio and video as well.
  • Interactive tools handle mediated interactions between a pair or group of users. They focus on establishing and maintaining a connection among users, facilitating the mechanics of conversation and talk. (Christopher Allen)
  • The terms Web 2.0 and (for large-business applications) Enterprise 2.0 are also used to describe this style of software.

Social Computing

  • Social computing is a general term for an area of computer science that is concerned with the intersection of social behavior and computational systems.
  • In the weaker sense of the term, it means supporting any sort of social behavior in or through computational systems; creating or recreating social conventions and social contexts through the use of software and technology (blogs, email, instant messaging, social network services, wikis, social bookmarking – any application where people interact socially)
  • In the stronger sense of the term, it means supporting “computations” that are carried out by groups of people (The Wisdom of Crowds); (collaborative filtering, online auctions, prediction markets, reputation systems, computational social choice, tagging, and verification games- also called Social Information Processing)

Social Media

  • the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue.
  • "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010)
  • Social media are media for social interaction, as a superset beyond social communication. Enabled by ubiquitously accessible and scalable communication techniques, social media substantially change the way of communication between organizations, communities, as well as individuals.(Kietzmann et al, 2011)
  • A common thread running through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value.


  • A Wiki or wiki is a website (or other hypertext document collection) that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content.

Two core assumptions incorporated in the wiki mechanism:

    • knowledge is transitory, not static
    • the whole is greater than the sum of the parts (through each individual’s contribution, the resulting product is made better and better.)

  • wiki software
    • MediaWiki
    • JSPwiki
    • CLiki

.... List of wiki software in Wikipedia


What is actually a blog?

  • a diary on Internet
  • with frequent posts
  • in reverse chronological order
  • open for comments
  • with open access
  • aimed at a particular audience

Blogs everywhere

Some examples

  • opinion, reflection

ScaryDuck- Not scary. Not a duck. Best British Weblog of 2002, and not afraid to gloat about it.



  • research


  • conferences

ECSCW'07 blog

  • literature

The Leaky Cauldron - a blog for Harry Potter fans

  • gossip


The Craft

How do you do it? Blogging Software

A. hosted solutions

B. downloadable software

How do you keep track of interesting blogs? Aggregators

A feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader, news aggregator or simply as an aggregator, is a client software or a Web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing. Aggregators reduce the time and effort needed to regularly check websites for updates, creating a unique information space. Once subscribed to a feed, an aggregator is able to check for new content at user-determined intervals and retrieve the update. The content is sometimes described as being "pulled" to the subscriber, as opposed to "pushed" with email or IM. The aggregator provides a consolidated view of the content in a single browser display or desktop application.

Examples of aggregators:

How do you find interesting blogs? Search engines for blogs

Key concepts

  • permalink
  • blogroll
  • comments
  • links
  • trackbacks
  • images
  • search on blog
  • archives
  • audio&video blogging
  • moblogging

The Art

  • What should I write about?
  • Finding my own voice
  • The frequency of my posts
  • The interaction

Social Effects

  • Becoming part of a community
  • Who reads my blog?
  • Who writes about me?
  • How many readers do I have?
  • Do they ever come back?

My digital lifestream

  • Who I am - my permanent traces on the Net
  • Who are my mentors
  • Who are my pals
  • What have I produced until now - my portfolio


  • Self development
  • Accountability
  • Independence
  • Self-determination
  • Being in control

Videos related to blogging


  • Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually 140 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user.
  • These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3 or the web.
  • The content of a micro-blog differs from a traditional blog due to the limited space per message. Many micro-blogs provide short messages about personal matters, commentary on a person-to-person level, or a link dump.
  • Twitter
  • Jaiku
  • Pownce

Social Network Services

A social network service focuses on the building and verifying of online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others, and which necessitates the use of software.


  • for business
  • based on location
    • Foursquare
    • Google Latitude
    • Facebook Places
    • Dopplr

  • dating

For more, check:

Jyri Engestrom speaks about Why aren't they working (pure social network services) and claims the success of other social network services seems to be based on object-centred sociality.

tagging & sharing



  • more
    • Social shopping
    • Social citations CiteULike
    • Social guides Wikitravel
    • P2P social networks QNext, Groove
    • Collaborative real-time editing SubEthaEdit
    • Virtual presence
    • MMOG - Massively-Multiplayer Online Games The Sims online

Associated issues




  • List the main categories of Social Software and give a few concrete examples for each category.
  • Explain how Twitter works.
  • How can one keep track of posts on an extended number of blogs?
  • List 4 categories of social networking applications.
  • Define the concept of social media.
  • What does "Web 2.0" mean? What about "Enterprise 2.0"? "E-learning 2.0"?
  • What are the characteristics that make social media fundamentally different from traditional media?
Personal tools