When is an app social? And what is a social app?

A few days ago I had a nice conversation about being social and social apps. But what does that mean?

As a fellow reader of this blog you have maybe seen, that I’m investing some (spare-)time into the new IBM Social Business Toolkit (even if I can’t afford the same amount of time as Niklas does it). But with all that programming stuff like OpenAuth and Activity Streams or the Facebook and Twitter API’s you only have the “technical part”.

Niklas has added XPages based access to the IBM Social business toolkit with the new OpenNTF project Social Enabler and he (and Philipe Riand) have setup some really good slides about scenarios for using the IBM Social Business Toolkit.

I’m – personally – not sure what a social application is. Or how an application becomes social.

  • Is an application social, when you have a “like” button?
  • Or is an application social when it creates content/tasks based on your (social) network?
  • Does social mean “contact my network with questions about me”?
  • And does social mean private/privacy?
  • And how does that fit into an enterprise/business context? Do you trust your co-workers the same way as you trust your “friends”?

Personally I’m using XING and LinkedIn as my “social platforms”, mainly for staying in contact with current or previous business contacts. Since yesterday I’m now on Facebook. Not sure if that fits my need, but I need to understand the “social app” stuff.

Any opinions?