Social Knowledge Networks

Nova Spivak outlines some of his shared thinking with Peter Rip on the evolution and value of Knowledge Networks.  Social applications are evolving from basic communication networks (voice, email, IM) toward applications that leverage and understand networks of relationships and knowledge.  It reminded me of an earlier post on the emergence of Social Networking 3.0 with applications that are socially aware and intelligent.

From Nova at Radar Networks:

"I’ve been thinking for several years about Knowledge Networking. It’s not a term I invented, it’s been floating around as a meme for at least a decade or two. But recently it has started to resurface in my own work. In particular, I’ve been discussing this lately with one of our investors, Peter Rip, who has been quite interested in this idea lately.

So what is a knowledge network? I define a knowledge network as a form of collective intelligence in which a network of people (two or more people connected by social-communication relationships) creates, organizes, and uses a collective body of knowledge. The key here is that a knowledge network is not merely a site where a group of people work on a body of information together (such as the wikipedia), it’s also a social network — there is an explicit representation of a social relationship within it. So it’s more like a social network than for example a discussion forum or a wiki.

I would go so far as to say that knowledge networks are the third-generation of social software. (Note this is based in-part on ideas that emerged in conversations I have had with Peter Rip, so this also his idea):

  • First-generation social apps were about communication (eg. messaging such as Email, discussion boards, chat rooms, and IM)
  • Second-generation social apps were about people and content (eg. Social networks, social media sharing, user-generated content)
  • Third-generation social apps are about relationships and knowledge  (eg. Wikis, referral networks, question and answer systems, social recommendation systems, vertical knowledge and expertise portals, social mashup apps, and coming soon, what we’re building at Radar Networks)"

Radar Networks has been described as a Semantic, Web 3.0 stealth mode start-up with their first product anticipated for fall 2007 launch. From Wikipedia

"Radar Networks’ first consumer application, scheduled for beta release in fall 2007, is a semantic ‘personal data organizer’ through which people will be able to access data from multiple other online services such as YouTube and Flickr. The application has been described as enabling ‘tagging’ of these pieces of data with semantic markup (see above), manually or automatically, so that computers can process it more intelligently[8]."

As Facebook works to establish themselves as the Social OS by leveraging their 32M users and the associated social graph, the intersection of semantic and social web may well create knowledge network opportunities as described by Nova and Peter…targeting consumer… and enterprise users.

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