Social Graph Series 3: It’s About Time We Get Back Our Social Information

My previous social graph series explains how social graph connects social objects on the web. The social gesture that user made towards social objects creates meaningful relationship between the social objects on the web. Social gesture comes in many form, following people in twitter, friending some one in facebook, Buzzing an article, sharing feeds in Google reader, Digging stories on the web, making purchases on the web are what I consider as social gesture.Any action that relate our self to another object (tagible product, other people account, stories) is considered as a ‘gesture’.  Application developers will be able to personalised content or create recommendation based on our social gestures.

Content Recommendation

The following great companies has created amazing algorithm and products that are able to recommend the best product or content that fits our social behaviour.

Amazon claims that they are the biggest book store on the planet, selling a wide range of product such as books, dvd, clothing, MP3, etc. Amazon has a recommendation system that suggest books that a customer might like based on other customer reviews and similiar purchases. Amazon recommendation  are based on individual behavior, plus either the item itself or behavior of other people on Amazon.

StumbleUpon integrates peer-to-peer and social networking principles with one-click blogging to create an emergent content  referral system. Stumble upon recommends websites or links that a user might like based on their ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’.

Google personalises that search result to match your web history. Google will customize your search results based on location and/or recent search activity. Additionally, when you’re signed in to your Google Account, you may see even more relevant, useful results based on your web history.
Digg is a famous news curation website that allow user to submit articles on the news. Digg surfaces the most “digged” news to the Digg’s front page. Content curation may be the latest next big thing in 2010. Digg curating system has sparked interest from major players such as Microsoft and Google. Google is intrested in Google because Digg curating system is a natural extension to its existing search algorithm.

Google Reader recently launched Google Reader Play. Google Reader play presents user with a slides of interesting RSS feeds that matches the user preferences.

Information Ownership

Every web producer out there funnels our social gesture into their data repository. They do this out of the good intention to provide a better user experience on the web. Some  web producers tend to be more open compare to others. Digg, Twitter, Foursquare share their social gesture data with the public. They let the community to add extra value from their social data by building great applications around it.

Twitter CEO Evan Williams argued that the social web is about being able to exchange information openly. Knowledge should not be owned by a certain private entity. Knowledge should be freely distributed for everyone to reap benefit out of it. Some choose to kept it behind a closed ecosystem that no one can access. They have a good reason for doing this.  Knowledge is power. Keeping knowledge to themselves allow them to have a strategic knowledge base to produce targeted ads or recommendation that potentially brings a lot of value into the corporate. One thing that they might missed out is that there is even a bigger potential to share knowledge with the public.

Sharing information and knowledge has created some of the best invention in the IT history.Take Linux for example. Opening Linux source code was probably the best move in the history of computing. Thousands of developers has joined together to create various distro of Linux and a plethora of amazing open source application that runs on Linux. Linux has been dominating the server market. Their market share in the server market has been rising consistently against other popular operating system. Google who has the most servers on the planet relies on Linux to run their operation.

Openness is the future. No platform should be closed. Opening platform allow us to create better product and services. Anil Dash argued that platform should not be proprietary :

Think of the web, of the Internet itself, as water. Proprietary platforms based on the web are ice cubes. They can, for a time, suspend themselves above the web at large. But over time, they only ever melt into the water. And maybe they make it better when they do.

Information or knowledge sharing should not be mistaken with unauthorized distribution of personal information. Web producer has the responsibility to safe guard our social behaviour information with the highest professional conduct. No data should be shared without the user consent. We own our activity and web producer should let us consciously share these information to people or entities that we choose to share them with. Nobody like having their data shared without their consent. Web producer need to learn the repercussion when their customers are not happy with how they share the customer personal information. Information ownership need to be monitored and regulated if need be to prevent privacy breach. I shall delve into potential privacy and security issue around social graph on the next series.

My Articles On Social Graph:


About zainul franciscus

Hi, I am a software developer and tech blogger who is currently living in Wellington, New Zealand. I write stuff that I find interesting on
This entry was posted in knowledge management, social media and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Social Graph Series 3: It’s About Time We Get Back Our Social Information

  1. Pingback: Social Graph Series 4: Moving Beyond Social Privacy to Semantic Web | Curly Braces

  2. Pingback: Social Graph Series 1: Social Graph the Building Block of the Social Web | Curly Braces

  3. Pingback: Social Graph Series 2: Protocols that Defines Social Objects Relationship | Curly Braces

  4. Hi Zainul – Great to see you’re continuing blogging and thinking about KM and related topics. The NZ Privacy Act is currently under review and the govt is seeking feedback on issues relating to social media – see (The deadline for submissions was yesterday, but at a seminar last week they said they’d grant a brief extension if requested) Jocelyn C

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