Building Social Services

Technology is getting more and more personal. As it does such it becomes easier to make things social in a real way.

Bringing a social experience to your application is more than just slapping a like button somewhere. Social is about making people aware that when they use your application they are entering a social situation.

A party is a real social situation. We know it’s a social event before we get to it. The host of a party tries to ensure that people engage in social behaviour such as chatting with each other, singing, dancing, and meeting new people by arranging for food, drinks and games to stir conversation.

Facebook is social in only a narrow sliver of what it means to be social in meatspace.

Now is the time to take a leap in what it means to create social software.

Creating software the provides a sense of presence, promotes social engagement, and enables social discovery and self expression is a real challenge from both a software and design perspective.  There will be new innovation required from both disciplines to get it right.

We are digging into this by experimenting within the scope of mobile games.  Mobile provides an interesting place because it is much more personal than sitting down at a computer in your office.  It allows us to go deeper than Facebook was able to go with their app when it was developed in 2004.

There is much work to be done yet in this area.  MMOs provide a glimpse at what should be possible to duplicate in mobile.  World of Warcraft and Second-Lift allowed people to meet and form relationships that became more intimate than would have happened outside of the games.  Technology has the potential to make social much more than it is in a physical setting.