Friday, May 02, 2003

Social Software Hype or Revolution

Phil Windley discusses the hard question around social software - What is in a Name: Social Software. I think he has it right, while we always get caught up in hype in our industry - the hype usually has some essence. Dave Winer argues this Pig Wont Fly by comparing social software to P2P. Well now that the hype is dying down around P2P there are real applications/businesses being developed around this technology e.g., Blue Falcon. The glamour has gone and it is now down to hard engineering and business building. The same has been true of many hyped technologies.

Social Software should not be measured by the hype but rather what are the fundamental concepts that it creates for moving us forward as an industry. While all our great hype cycles (anyone remember the AI hype...) have generated a lot of wreckage they have all contributed significantly to our knowledge.The wreckage has been mainly create by unwise VC's and pundits following the herd - not by technologists trying to create something new and valuable.

I am not sure Social Software will contribute as much as P2P, OOP, AI or Web Services but we need to hold new ideas lightly and encourage them to grow and develop. If not we will as an industry will cease to be relevant.

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