Brad Feld

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Social Networks In Obvious Places

Dec 10, 2007

Upon my return from a week off the grid, I was slaughtered by Facebook invites, LinkedIn invites, and an endless stream of unread blog posts.  It only took me 75 minutes of my morning routine to get through all of them.  The most entertaining ones had parallel structure to them:

  • "you are my friend on Facebook – I thought we should be friends on LinkedIn"
  • "you are my friend on LinkedIn – I thought we should be friends on Facebook."

Of course, if I hadn’t turned off email reminders for both services I would have also had email messages alerting me to my new almost friends.

Pete Warden – who I met through some special friends that I’ll be talking about shortly after the new year – showed me a really cool visualization of his Outlook Graph when he was in Denver for the Defrag conference.  He’s now made the alpha available for anyone to play around with (against your Outlook data store.)  Social network as a function of email.

Fred Wilson is now living in twitter, tumblr, and disqus.  I’ve been pestering Fred for a few months about the hidden social network across blogs, especially embedded in comments (Fred uses Disqus – I use Intense Debate.)  Social network as a function of blogs + comments.

There is another layer of structure here that some smart people are working on, but so far I haven’t found "the company" that is doing this.  The metaphor that popped into my head was portal vs. Google.  Before Google, we had Yahoo, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, and a bunch of others.  They all did search and discovery, but were completely eclipsed by Google.

Today we have Facebook, LinkedIn, Bebo, Hi5, Meebo, Orkut, …  We also have email, blog comments, …  Seems like a parallel universe.  Be a good friend and help me find the answer.