Social Software, Social Hardware? Social

Social Software, Social Hardware? Social Technology! I guess this is a continuation of the 'what's in a word' thread from the other day. I had been struck by the 'new' term Social Software. Was it yet another word for an old concept? At eRoom we variously described our software as collaboration software, team software, groupware, project software -- based mostly on marketing considerations: What term was hot, which one was not; which ones did the press like, what analysts were saying good things, etc.

So I had a natural skepticism about yet a new term, Social Software. Recently I had a helpful chat with Clay Shirky about this very point. He offered a broadened definition of Social Software that would include eRoom, Groove, Kubi, Lotus Notes (all classic collaboration systems) but also services like LinkedIn and even hardware like the nTag.

The pithy definition might be "Software which enables, fosters, facilitiates human social interations and relationships."

But even that is incomplete...

Today there's a link on the Register: 'Social Hardware' nears with Bluetooth iPod' What's interesting about the article is the term Social Hardware (because I don't think the product described actually legitimately fits within the term Social anything.)

Maybe the term that will stick is actually Social Technology (although that too sounds like an oxymoron.)

Posted on October 31, 2003 and filed under Uncategorized.