Monday, September 6, 2010

Social Network Definition: Revisited

Before getting unplugged for long Labor day weekend, I posted a question on LinkedIn Q&A to see how my earlier Social Network definition would resonate with experts on LinkedIn. Not to my surprise, I got varying responses from my question, which was

What is the essence of Social Network? What makes a site Social Network site? If you were to define Social Network, how would you define? Do you agree with definition provided in

Although there were only handful of responses so far, it was interesting that two of most thoughtful responses extended Social Network to off-line social interaction. Social network has been there all along; it's just so-called social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, have modeled these social connections into Web 2.0 context.

While mulling over these responses, I came across a serendipitous tweet on my Twitter. Just last Saturday TechCrunch ran a story covering Addappt. The idea behind Addappt is to start building Social Network connection using your mobile phone contact lists. What would be most reliable source of connections that one can have, other than people you regularly keep in touch with on the phone? Such an apt example of off-line social network seeding the virtual Social Network connections. In fact there were comments on the TechCrunch post that directed me to earlier such example from India: Mobile Adda.

This seemed so appropriate when thinking about off-line and on-line Social Networking medium (to borrow Erica Friedman's term). Yes, people have been interacting and making connections with or without social networking sites. Whether it is a cocktail party or marketing event, when you make a handshake and exchange business card, you are making social connections that you can build on (remember rollerdex anyone?).

Another common vocabulary I saw from responses was collaboration. It sounds so fitting since I'm sharing all these information collaboratively in free exchange of ideas. Truly the multiplyer effect of Social Network!

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