Robert Scoble: I still don't get social software

I still don't get social software. Who's my friends? It's the people I link to. Linking to someone is a far stronger social statement about someone than saying "yeah, they're my friend" to Orkut or Linked Up.

I just left a really long comment on Robert Scoble's weblog. It turned out so long I thought I better keep it for posterity here as well. Read on for the full text of the comment.

I equate it quite simply: a profile (in whatever system, and for the record, I hate the FOAF format, just waiting for a better one...) is a snapshot about you -- all the information that you want to make public. The "linking" portion can just as easily be combined with your profile, grabbed from your RSS feed, etc. So, the profile is explicit information.

Your blog is tacit information. If someone came on a particular day and read all your posts, they might get a particular view. That might give a very good idea on your views on a subject, or a handful of subjects, but wouldn't tell anyone "Who is this Robert Scoble guy?".

There isn't even a "About Me" page linked anywhere (which could be construed as being a non-structured form of a profile), so it might be very hard for someone to get some context about you.

  • works at Microsoft
  • worked at company X in the past
  • hometown is such-and-such
  • currently lives here-and-there
  • and happens to know an old high school buddy of mine

OK, enough rambling. Does that make sense? I see the ultimate goal as a marriage between explicit (profile) and tacit (blog/comments/blogroll/etc.). Neither one is an end goal in and of itself.