Aug 18 2007

Social Graph – The Next Future Overused Phrase

Get ready to start hearing “Social Graph” as frequently as you hear “Web 2.0.”  The construct of the Social Graph (and its friend – Social Network) has been around for a while.  Now that Facebook has stolen our minds (and help us control our friends), we all are part of a social network.  Or nine.  Or 721 (that’s my best guess for the number of different services that have a social network that I’m a user of.)

Brad Fitzpatrick, the creator of LiveJournal, has a great overview of the Social Graph and a real call to action in his post Thoughts on the Social Graph.  After reading it, I thought of a few things:

  1. My first online social graph was my Compuserve email list.  I don’t have it anymore.
  2. My second online social graph was AOL and my buddy list.  I still have it.
  3. My biggest online social graph is the 4348 contacts I have in Outlook.  Where oh where is Microsoft in all of this?
  4. Every time I log into a new web app that needs a social graph, I want it to inherit the one I have (see #6.)
  5. Identity theft is going to become a massive problem.  On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.  Except maybe Dogster.
  6. I own my social graph.  Whatever applications I use need to give me a way to control it.
  7. All applications should be motivated to interoperate with each other.

Several of my investments are addressing different parts of this problem, including Me.dium, Lijit, and TrustPlus.  Several of the TechStars companies, including EventVue, SocialThing, and Villij are also working on aspects of this.  Many of my investments rely on a Social Graph and should be motivated to aggressively interoperate with others.  Remember that I’m a horizontal guy so this appeals nicely to my brain.

“Social Graph” might become the new “Web 2.0.”  Phrase droppers of the world unite.