The Social Graph In The Second Inning
The social graph can do way more than it's doing for me right now. I've said that on many occasions in the past but I was reminded of that in our "messaging brainstorming discussion" earlier this week. Myspace and Facebook, and Friendster and Six Degrees before them, showed us how great a service can be when it knows who your friends are. But the current social graphs know so little about who my friends really are.
I told a friend at breakfast yesterday about how I went about building an invite list to our holiday party this year. We are expanding our party, doing it outside our home, and thus wanted to extend the invitation list beyond the one we've been using in past years. I went to Xobni (which is a plug-in to outlook) and asked it who my top 100 friends are. The list it spit back at me was based on who I email with most frequently and it was ordered from 1 to 100. I didn't really have to think very long. Almost everyone on that list got an invite.
Facebook can't do that for me. I have 239 friends on Facebook, all with the same ranking (with the exception of my "top friends"), and maybe 10 or 20 are coming to our holiday party. I realize this is a generational thing and that my kids use Facebook to do all of their party invites. But the social graph inside of my email address book is way more relevant to my life than the one on Facebook. And it can rank who is important to me and who is not.
That's not the only social graph in my life that is underutilized. How about the phone book on my blackberry curve? When I click on the phone button on my blackberry I am shown the most recent calls I've made or received. Many of the names on that list never change. The Gotham Gal rules that list, followed by my kids. That is my most important social network right there. My family. Imagine if Xobni ran on my blackberry. I'd be really interested in the list from 1 to 100 on my phone too.
What about Twitter? Who do I follow? Who do I reply to? Who do I favorite? What about my blogroll? What about what blogs I comment on? What about the people who comment most frequently on my blog?
What I want is a single aggregated social graph that I control that has all of this data in it. That "meta social graph" can then be applied by ME to the interface I want on top off all my messaging systems.
This is going to happen. It has to. And that's why we are in the second inning of this social graph thing. I think Facebook is going to be a big winner, possibly the Google of the social graph movement, but there's a lot of baseball to play before this game is over.