Smarter, Simpler, Social: An introduction to online social software methodology is the title of a recent, lengthy article by Lee Bryant. Bryant collects a wealth of observations on the current shape of the social software landscape and reflects on where things are / ought to be going.
While I feel the article lacks a well-defined structure and spreads itself in too many directions at once, most of those directions - emergent networks, social network analysis, knowledge sharing, and social capital, to name a few - highlight significant aspects of the theme. There's a large and worthwhile set of links throughout the text, as well.
The strongest part is at the end, where Bryant discusses methodology for implementing and deploying social software. The following quote nicely summarizes his position, which I find quite sensible:
Instead of imposing centralised one-size-fits-all software and then using a combination of coercion and marketing to encourage people to use it, we should be building smaller, more modular and adaptable software services around the very people who will use them, and they should be simple to use, ideally transparent to the user.
All in all, a nice fly-through.