Tablet from the Library of Ashurbanipal containing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh The first libraries consisted of archives of the earliest form of writing —the clay tablets in cuneiform script discovered in temple rooms in Sumer  some dating back to BC. There is also evidence of libraries at Nippur about BC and those at Nineveh about BC showing a library classification system. The tablets were stored in a variety of containers such as wooden boxes, woven baskets of reeds, or clay shelves. The "libraries" were cataloged using colophons, which are a publisher's imprint on the spine of a book, or in this case a tablet.
Subscribe to the mailing list. I want to talk this morning about social software I want to talk about a pattern I've seen over and over again in social software that supports large and long-lived groups.
And that pattern is the pattern described in the title of this talk: Let me offer a definition of social software, because it's a term that's still fairly amorphous.
My definition is fairly simple: It's software that supports group interaction. I also want to emphasize, although that's a fairly simple definition, how radical that pattern is.
The Internet supports lots of communications patterns, principally point-to-point and two-way, one-to-many outbound, and many-to-many two-way. Prior to the Internet, we had lots of patterns that supported point-to-point two-way.
We had telephones, we had the telegraph. We were familiar with technological mediation of those kinds of conversations.
Prior to the Internet, we had lots of patterns that supported one-way outbound. I could put something on television or the radio, I could publish a newspaper. We had the printing press.
So although the Internet does good things for those patterns, they're patterns we knew from before. Prior to the Internet, the last technology that had any real effect on the way people sat down and talked together was the table.
There was no technological mediation for group conversations. The closest we got was the conference call, which never really worked right -- "Hello? Do I push this button now? Oh, shoot, I just hung up. We've had social software for 40 years at most, dated from the Plato BBS system, and we've only had 10 years or so of widespread availability, so we're just finding out what works.
We're still learning how to make these kinds of things.MSDN Magazine Issues and Downloads.
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