The 5 W’s of Social Software

Social software has been around for a long time. Email, after all, is the canonical example. But it’s been only recently that web designers as a whole have embraced it and really started innovating. We’ve got social news aggregators, social encyclopedias, social bookmarking, social networking, recommendation systems, social tagging…all of these things add up to huge changes in the way we use the Web. Though some folks see it as nothing more than social networking, there are elements of social software being built into most software today.

Who: Social software helps people by modeling their social lives online.

What: Social software is software that supports social activities.

Where: Social software is nearly everywhere.

When: Now.

Why: Social software is important because that’s the way that software is trending.

Social software has been around for a long time. Email, after all, is the canonical example. But it’s been only recently that web designers as a whole have embraced it and really started innovating. We’ve got social news aggregators, social encyclopedias, social bookmarking, social networking, recommendation systems, social tagging…all of these things add up to huge changes in the way we use the Web. Though some folks see it as nothing more than social networking, there are elements of social software being built into most software today.

Who: Social software helps people by modeling their social lives online.

What: Social software is software that supports social activities.

Where: Social software is nearly everywhere.

When: Now.

Why: Social software is important because that’s the way that software is trending.

In addition, social software is teaching us lots of interesting things. It’s teaching us that the distinction between online and offline is barely there anymore, that people are super-comfortable on the Web (it wasn’t always this way…really!), that there are multiple ways to succeed in social software, and that there is room for lots of highly-trafficked services because people don’t mind subscribing to multiples. Also, with gaming, dating, and new media sites/software we’re seeing that there is huge money in it.

Published: September 7th, 2006

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