Why the name? Two reasons. First, it’s a good descriptor for the group writing this. We felt a multi-authored weblog was an ideal environment to talk about a medium that is defined by its multiple voices. Second, it’s a key characteristic of many (if not most) of the technologies we’ll be talking about.
So, what will we be talking about? The term “social software” has been getting a lot of attention in technology circles these days. From the Social Software track at O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference to the newly-formed Social Software Alliance, people involved with developing and deploying new technologies are increasingly interested in this topic. (Stay tuned for a post—or a few posts—on definitional issues.)
The growing popularity of blogging as a tool for ad-hoc journalism, academic discourse, and just plain thinking-out-loud has been one of the drivers of this trend. So has the development of new P2P and group-forming technologies—IM clients like Jabber, group-forming web sites like Friendster and Ryze, collaborative document editing tools like Wikis, multiplayer games, and old stand-bys like mailing lists and usenet groups.
The emphasis on communication and collaboration inherent in social software led us to the idea of a group-authored weblog on the topic. Each of us brings a long history of participation in social software environments, and an interest in both the development of tools and the understanding of their uses. Liz, Ross, and Seb are all active bloggers, and while sans blog (until now!), Clay is a well-known thinker and writer in the field.
We plan to use this blog to highlight new developments in the social software field, and also to provide commentary and conversation on the uses of social software in varying contexts. We welcome your participation in these conversations, through the use of comments—a first on a Corante blog.
Got a pet project you want us to look at? Tell us about it! A wish list for a new kind of social software? Let us help you find kindred spirits who’ll help develop it. Experiences with a tool or site we talk about? Share them.