Thursday, 29 May 2008
From the users perspective social networking tools provide a means of creating and maintaining a profile of themselves with the ability to managed relationships with other users. Simplistically it displays a description of who I am, what skills I have and who I know/work with. In general this is defined by a user entering and maintaining information about themselves, a static profile. In general the static profile is made up of what the user considers to be important facts about themselves, or the information they want to highlight. However in addition to the users static profile there is also the users tacit or social profile. Essentially this represents the sum of the content the user has created using Social Content Creation tools and the content they have read and stored using Social Information Management tools. These ideas are illustrated in the diagram below along with how these tools interrelate.
In this diagram we see that in the bottom layer I create content, in the middle layer I consume content and at the top is me, the user. What this diagram illustrates is that a user is describe by both their static profile and by the sum of all their activity in the two layers below. This summed activity can be considered a social profile. The social profile is a transactional descriptor of the current interests and activities of a user and provides a time bounded snapshot of the user. The challenge is how to aggregate this social profile.