Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Suw blogs about Yet Another Pointless Social Network (YAPSN) issues. Interesting post and something that I've been observing myself. How can you get people to keep coming back to a Social Network Service like Orkut or Friendster once the initial fun of creating the network is gone? I think that a lot of the YAPSNs focus too much on the size of your network. When Orkut was publishing the "most networked" top 10, everyone was running to have the biggest network. It was a game. I now have 1001 "friends". Whoopie! This is incredibly useless data for me. Sending a message to all of them would be spam. I really don't have much use for Orkut's network at this point other than to fiddle around and look at pictures when I'm bored. (Some of the communities on Orkut are interesting so I drop in from time to time.)

I personally find LinkedIn useful. (Not just because Reid is my friend.) LinkedIn is not about fun. It's about work. There is really no way to have too much fun on LinkedIn, so my network is very utilitarian and I'm mostly connected to only people I actually know and would write a reference for. This is a useful data set. You'd think LinkedIn wouldn't be viral since it's not that much fun, but it's growing faster than any of the social network services.

But as Suw points out, social networking is a natural byproduct of doing things like photo sharing and music listening. I think that the way for many of these YAPSNs to survive will be to integrate with external sites such as and flickr. However, once you've grown your social network to 1001 friends, there really isn't any way to unpollute your data so at least for me, I can't imagine how Orkut could become more useful to me. I guess I could eBay my Orkut account and start again. ;-P

WARNING: Partisan humor

Bush's debate notes

via Screenhead

UPDATE: Another version of the debate notes. Which one are the real ones?!?

MSNBC: Columnist Coulter hit with custard pies
The Smoking Gun: "Al Pieda" Targets Ann Coulter

According to a copy of the police report from the University of Arizona Police Department on The Smoking Gun, the "Al Pieda" were involved.

UAPD report
Search incident to arrest I located on both Wolff and Smith pieces of paper (propaganda) involving Coulter's name and the explanation of "Al Pieda".

via Markoff

I found editorgrrl in my neighborhood. She and I have extremely similar taste, but she seems to have a bunch of stuff that I don't have in my profile so I listen to her personal radio a lot. I notice my profile becoming more and more similar to hers as her playlist starts to influence my playlist. I just noticed that this feels a bit like online music profile stalking...

I also realized that if you had a crush on someone, you could listen to their music all day long. You would show up in their neighborhood. You would get to know their music. Or... you would keep hitting "ban" and you would realize that you should NOT have a crush on them. ;-)

I am not recommending that this be a primary reason to use, but just a thought...

I'm going to quote David's whole post because it has a bunch of good links.

David Weinberger
Metadata without tears

Peter Merholz, AKA peterme, has an excellent article at Adaptive Path called Metadata for the Masses:

But what if we could somehow peek inside our users’ thought processes to figure out how they view the world? One way to do that is through ethnoclassification [1] — how people classify and categorize the world around them.

He takes and Flickr as examples of "ethnoclassification" (a phrase he tracks back to Susan Leigh Star),. (I am enamored of the branch of ethnoclassification on exhibit at if only because people have started calling it "folksonomy.") He looks at the benefits. Then he addresses the problems, and suggests the paths out of the forest we're making for ourselves.

Jay Fienberg points us also to Jon Udell's article on "collaborative knowledge gardening." I've also been looking at some related issues (e.g., here, here, here, here and here), but Peter has the advantage of knowing what he's talking about.

I totally agree that this "ethnoclassification" is really an amazing solution to the metadata problem. Although, as they point out, there are some problems, I think that we'll find solutions. I feeling very taggy these days. I think there should be more cross-site tag linking. Blog categories, wiki pages, music meta data, and many other things can be "tagged". TAGCON 2005! Sorry. Just kidding.