到底什么是“Social Software”,Social software is any software that supports group communications. The dynamics of social software are significantly different from traditional interactions.(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. )
. 仔细一想，其实就是人与人在网络进行人际沟通、交流的软件。比如，E-mail,BBS,Weblog, Wiki,ListServ, MUD, QQ, Messager,等等，大凡能够发挥人际交往作用的东西，都可以算是Social Software。
随便在网络上搜索了一下，看看“社会性软件（Social Software）”究竟是怎么回事。发现北京师范大学的Xiuli博士曾这样写到：“社会性软件（Social Software）产生发展与六度分隔（Six Degrees of Separation）理论密切相关。六度分隔理论是由美国著名社会心理学家米尔格伦（Stanley Milgram）于20世纪60年代最先提出。简单地说，六度分隔理论认为在人际脉络中，要结识任何一位陌生的朋友，这中间最多只要通过六个朋友就能达到目的。”
其实，如果能把Social Software正确地理解为“社交性软件”，那么它自然与有关人际交往社会心理学相关的理论就有关系了，恐怕不单纯是Stanley Milgram。六度分隔理论与社交性软件之间的联系好象并非那么紧密。
The term has been around for more than a decade, though not always with the meaning that is now evolving (it seems to have first been used in the early 1990s as the name of a software company). In the last year or so it has become a buzzword; the topic was aired at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in Santa Clara at the end of April.
The idea is new enough that people are groping for a definition. Some use it as a term for any computer software that supports group communications across networks. In that sense, it encompasses chat rooms, mailing lists, online gaming communities, Usenet newsgroups, MOOs, weblogs (blogs), and more. Others would like to limit it to newer software in which the emphasis is on the community, not on the technology that makes it possible, and which is adaptable to the ways in which people want to interact rather than imposing a structure on them.
Proponents see possibilities in education, health, politics, and other areas. Some newspapers and media groups, such as the BBC, are keen to see the traditional one-way process of journalism become a dialogue and want to use the software to build communities. It’s as yet unclear what these systems will look like in practice—some critics worry there’s too much talk and not enough action—but the BBC has plans to roll out a package in October 2003.
The artist-engineer, tinkering with alternative human-machine interfaces, social software, digital aesthetics and more has effectively been operating in a self-imposed vacuum.
[Afterimage, Sep.-Oct. 2002]
In trial since early November, the service allows users to create a profile mapped to their postcode, and enter into discussions with people close to their location. It’s this element of location which has lifted UpMyStreet Conversations out of the old bulletin-board arena into the trendy new area of social software.
[Guardian, 9 Jan. 2003]
Social Software and the Next Big Phase of the Internet 是一个对Clay Shirky（这个家伙写了不少网络文化方面的东西）的访谈。Historical Roots of Social Software是一篇不能不读的关于社交性软件的历史文献。
无论怎么说，我感觉英国卫报的评论还是比较中肯的。Thursday May 8, 2003，The Guardian ：Social software is the next big thing: everybody’s talking about it. A lot of people are developing exciting new programs to aid social interaction. Social software is being massively overhyped. It’s just a sideshow run by a few geeks with a tenuous grip on reality. Social software isn’t new: we’ve been using it for decades. We already have email, Usenet newsgroups, chatrooms, instant messaging, bulletin boards, multi-user games and more. Social software isn’t a new technology at all, it just reflects changes in society. Take your pick…