What exactly makes an application social?

What are the key attributes of a social web application? Shaun Connolly lists 7 Key Attributes of Social Web Applications:

Since social web applications are built to encourage communication between people, they typically emphasize some combination of the following social attributes:

  1. Identity: who are you?
  2. Reputation: what do people think you stand for?
  3. Presence: where are you?
  4. Relationships: who are you connected with? who do you trust?
  5. Groups: how do you organize your connections?
  6. Conversations: what do you discuss with others?
  7. Sharing: what content do you make available for others to interact with?

Social web applications need not exhibit all of these features, but the more attribute areas they cover, the more engaging they are likely to be.

I like this list. It is simple and clean. For every application you design for the social web, you should ask yourself these seven questions.

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8 thoughts on “What exactly makes an application social?

  1. I find it fascinating how popular the question of trust is in the latest discussions.
    I would defnetly agree with points five,six & seven – three is always interessting.
    I´m not so sure about the impact of two and four.

  2. Well, point 4 is the basic social graph and little bit more. I have difficulties with point 2 also, but reputation is in the mind set of the users in the network an important issue. But I believe it is not the number of links, backlinks, followers etc – but something people picture in you. Or as Shaun says, „what do people think you stand for?“.

  3. 1. Roland. It´s me.
    2. Web 2.0 Beefeater
    3. pls refer to yout preferred search engine.
    4. I trust people I know individually, though not all of them
    5. I let it flow (mostly)
    6. Topics that touch me
    7. In fact, i might share even too much, but that´s part of the game

  4. …and how does your (planned) application support all this for all users in your network? :-) – what is specific for your application? what exactly makes your application social? that’s the social concept of your application.

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