Clay Shirky discusses the clumsiness of the explicit networking services.
Orkut had a click. "X has added you as a friend. Are you X's friend?"
But people were indiscriminately adding too many people. So they added a second click. "Are you sure that X is your friend?"
Now they've added a third click. "How much of a friend is X? Close friend, peripheral friend, etc"
This is all trying to hack around the fact that, basically, people are good at subtle sociological judgements, but computers aren't. (Measured on the time scale of our social capacity, fire is a recent invention and agriculture is still a novelty. )
So why is it hard to do in software? Shirky's (new) law: "The more you know what you're doing, the less you know what you're doing." A new chess player can say what he's doing far more easily than a chess master (who is more likely to say "gosh, that doesn't look right.")
Then, too: "it is always tempting, as an engineer, to think that the tools you know how to use are well suited to the problem at hand."
And he ends with an "exhortation to people building software: it's tempting to believe you can create a formal model, because that's what computer work well with. Avoid that temptation. We don't need to relive the tragedy of AI as the farce of social networking. "
from left to right: Linda Stone, Joi Ito, Ze Frank, Tim O'Reilly, Clay Shirky, and Steven Johnson.March 29, 2004 12:18 PM | TrackBack | in Microsoft Social Computing