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Friday, April 28, 2006 Thoughts on Next Generation Social Technology

Justin Pfister from Waterbury, CT who works at a TimeWarner company says he “loves keeping tabs on everything that connects us and projects us into greater awareness.” You can email him at

Think for a second: Could MySpace, Orkut, Yahoo! 360 and Friendster be the DOS operating system that, as Windows, overcomes? Does history repeat itself like this?, a social technology company, is a newly announced member of the Microsoft IP Ventures program. There’s not much on their website, but you might get the impression that, like the box on their page, is just exploding with ideas about social computing. Their site is a tabula rasa, or blank slate, and ideally it will grow with the people who embrace it over time. Check out their jobs page. (Hey, Wallop, hire me!)

Could bring the next dimension of Social Technology? Well they have a pretty socially advanced parent. I don’t feel like its embraced enough, but Microsoft Windows has laid the foundation of social computing from the very beginning. The simple Microsoft platform got people to stop optimizing code and start living life. Windows makes it easy for our older family members to send us email. It’s because of products like Office that business people around the world can communicate with thoughtful documents like PowerPoint and Excel. My friend can record a song and be confident that it would play on my Media Player. So many things have progressed because of Microsoft.

Here are some things we’ve learned about social technology over the past few years. I’m using the bullets from Danah Boyd’s article and expanding on her points with my own thoughts.

In the end, social computing and Wallop are going to need to be more like life and less like technology. I think Microsoft will be a good mentor for them. If they can stay true to the human condition, they may create the next social sense. A long-term sustainable sense of social awareness will happen sooner or later! For Wallop, a blank slate combined with out of the box ideas about simple things (look at the image above) seems like a great way to start.

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