From Horizon Project
Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
 Social Operating Systems
The continuing growth of social networking systems indicates that they supply a popular need; currently, Facebook alone has 55 million active users (http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?factsheet). As anyone knows who has signed up for one of these sites—or received an invitation from a friend who has done so—the key to social networking is to declare your relationships to people that you know, and then share information with them by means of little applications or widgets. These relationships, both personal and professional, make up a network known as the social graph.
A downside of current social networking systems is that they don’t recognize the social graph—every time you join a new social networking site, you have to recreate your relationships—and you can generally only declare a relationship with someone else if they are registered on the same site. Over the next few years, social networking systems will become social operating systems, which will allow connections to be more fluid and dynamic; a key characteristic of social operating systems will be that they know about the social graph and can tap into it to find out who you already know. Your relationships will be carried with you into any new online social system you join—2D or 3D. Social operating systems will include a user-centered set of tools that allow people to own and manage their own social ties and personal information while allowing automated discovery of relationships by web applications.
 Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression
- Your personal and professional connections would move with you throughout your career, no matter what social networking platforms you use now or in the future.
- It becomes easier to create custom widgets that know who people are—there is no need to develop profile and contacts functionality; simply tap into the social graph.
- Google’s OpenSocial APIs let widgets share data: http://code.google.com/apis/opensocial/
- The German company Aka’Aki alerts you to people you might want to meet while you are, say, at the grocery store: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/akaaki
 For Further Reading
Giant Global Graph
(Tim Berners-Lee, Dig (timbl’s blog), November 21, 2007)
This blog post discusses the social graph (or the giant global graph) in terms of its relationship to the Internet as a whole and to the Semantic Web. http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/215
The Social Network Operating System
(Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Radar, October 12, 2007)
This blog post describes the benefits of the social graph. http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/10/social_network_operating_system.html
Thoughts on the Social Graph
(Brad Fitzpatrick and David Recordon, August 17, 2007)
This article discusses the need for a social graph that exists outside of systems like Facebook, so that applications can take advantage of the fact that you already know who your contacts are. http://bradfitz.com/social-graph-problem/
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