The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Social software

Social software are communication tools that facilitate interaction and collaboration by using social convention rather than software features. Such software includes email, Usenet, IRC, instant messaging, blogs, wikis, NNTP and virtual online communities.

While email, IRC, and instant message applications are becoming increasingly common, there are other emerging tools like weblogs and wikis that are changing how people communicate, especially by allowing many-to-many interactions. In other words, the concept of social software isn't new and we've already had some for years. However, there are more sophisticated tools emerging in recent times. Social software is being incorporated into otherwise one-to-many situations, such as the ability to review products on e-commerce sites or comment on news articles.



Internet Relay Chat

Internet Relay Chat is a standard that allows users to join chat rooms and instantly communicate with others in that room. Examples include dalnet, undernet, efnet.

Internet Forum

Examples include , .

Blogs or Weblogs

There are already many websites that address the history of blogs, like The History of Weblogs and weblogs: a history and perspective

Blogs mean many things to different people : ranging from "online journal" to "easily updated personal website." While these definitions are not wrong, they fail to capture the power of blogs as social software. Beyond being a simple homepage, or an online dairy, some blogs also

  • allow comments on the entries thereby a discussion forum;
  • have blogrolls, i.e., links to other blogs which the owner reads;
  • have trackback which allows one blog to notify another blog, creating an inter-blog conversation.

More importantly, blogs engage readers and build a virtual community around a particular person or interest.

Examples include Slashdot, LiveJournal, BlogSpot


Examples include the original Portland Pattern Repository wiki, MeatballWiki, CommunityWiki , and possibly Wikipedia, Wiktionary , Wikisource . The status of Wikipedia and related projects as "true" Wikis or as "typical" wikis has been questioned. [1]

Social networks

Examples include aroundme , ArtBoom, Orkut, Friendster. See Category:Social networking

Other is a social bookmarks manager, as is furl .

See also

External links

  • A Group is its Own Worst Enemy and Social Software and the Politics of Groups by Clay Shirky. Published on the "Networks, Economics, and Culture" mailing list.
  • Many-to-Many: a group weblog on Social Software
  • Social Software Alliance: Wiki on Social Software taskforces

Commercial Software

  • Socialtext Enterprise Social Software
  • Groove
  • IBM's Lotus
  • K-Collector Enterprise Knowledge Aggregator

Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55