Digital Culture as social network

Over at Read/Write web, there’s an article today about how is moving towards becoming a social network:

But Joshua has bigger plans for – it will essentially turn into a social network, with more focus on people instead of data. I learned this when I asked Joshua what kind of new functionality we can expect to see from delicious over the coming 6-12 months? Joshua replied:

“One of the amazing things about our users is how smart and far-reaching their interests are. While delicious previously has been very much about just the data, in the future I hope to allow our users themselves to come forward within the system. Additionally, I want to help people connect with others within the system, either to people they already know or discovering new people and communities based on interest.”
(emphasis mine)

This points to a social networking future for, perhaps more so than a content bookmarking one (which it currently is). delicious already has a ‘Your network’ feature, but that basically just connects users’ bookmarks. I think what Joshua is talking about is expanding this into a more full-featured social networking system – with commenting, groups, etc. Perhaps similar to Imeem, which combines content browsing with social networking.

I would argue that is already a social network. It’s possible to identify users with similar interests (a la Facebook), you can “subscribe” to a users information, you can send links to users in your network, your network acts as a sort of friends list…it’s all there already. If what Read/Write means is that the individual user will become the focus rather than the user’s content…I hope desperately that’s not the case. is nearly perfect at what it does. I would hate to see any of the functionality buried or de-prioritized for the sake of becoming more social.

Now what I would like to see is a collaborative folksonomic site that merges and flickr (both owned by yahoo now). Not inside the current site of either of them, but some new site where you could see how the tags interacted…search for “cats” and get flickr pictures of cats along with links on cats. Hell, if returned relevancy ranked links, you’d have a sort of human-powered Google…both sites and pictures that have all been vetted by an actual human to relate to tag X. I’d love to see how that would look…Yahoo? Pretty please?

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

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