Danah Boyd writes, " I’ve been meaning to write a paper on The Significance of ‘Social Software for some time, but… In the meantime, i’ve written an abstract for public criticism."
"In this paper, I will explore the contributions of social software. I will argue that there have been notable technological advancements, but that their significance stems from the rapid iteration of development in ongoing tango with massive user participation. In other words, the advances of social software are neither cleanly social nor technological, but a product of both.
I will explicitly address three case studies central to the narrow scope of social software - Friendster, blogging and Flickr. I will discuss how tagging, audience management (such as ACLs) and articulated social networks are neither technological advances nor social features, but emerge as a product of collective action and network affects. While parts of these technologies have been built in research, the actual advances are impossible to construct in a laboratory due to the sociological effects necessary for maturation."
The "rapid iteration of development in ongoing tango with massive user participation" is right on target. She is opening her research to anyone that is interested and that wants to particpate. I bookmarked it and tagged it with socialsoftware and research on del.icio.us.
What can businesses learn from this? From a marketing angle, check out the posts from Evelyn and Hugh.
Watch the Stories You Make Up About Your Customers Evelyn writes "Marketers are simply notorious for it: we segment, and slice and dice the population and make broad-ranging assumptions. We make up stories about sets of customer..."
make your customers the marketing department from hugh on gaping void is about what he and his partner sig believe. Sig: "Make the customer integral to the process, make the customer the central player in "The Flow"" and Hugh: "Make your customers the marketing department."
This whole idea of blogging, social software goes much deeper. We need to acclerate the rate of adoption within organizations (enterprise blogging, bookmarking, etc.) so that business can learn what is important to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.