Nat emailed me this morning with a message that this “social software” term I have been advocating for use with the Hula announcement appears to have some grab.
Social software is a broad term used to describe Internet-based software that facilitates group interaction. Social software connects people together intellectually and makes it possible to share and evolve ideas. Social software is not bound just by what features the tool provides, but also by social conventions and etiquette on how to use it appropriately. Such software includes email, Usenet, IRC, instant messaging, blogs, wikis, NNTP, folksonomy, and virtual online communities.
In fact, I used that definition to state a case to Bryan Cardoza (my peer on the product management side) and Nat in some of our early meetings. After using the Wikipedia definition to convince them that “social software” was the right term for our vision of Hula, I told them that I had in fact re-written the Wikipedia definition the night before. (It’s all in the name of complete, albeit ex post facto, intellectual honesty.)
Looking smart for lifting someone else’s term is always fun. Giving appropriate credit where due, I picked up the term from Christopher Allen’s blog called Life With Alacrity, in which had an entry called “Tracing the Evolution of Social Software.”
Finally, for some in-depth insight into the early thinking behind Hula complete with strong language rarely seen in my blog and an allusion to Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, I recommend you read this blog entry from Nat’s pre-Hula confidant Jamie Zawinski. That is in fact what Nat sent me in his email, stating that perhaps I actually do know what I’m talking about, Wikipedia aside.