Gartner’s 2010 Hype Cycle report on social software highlights the most important technologies that enable and support social interactions. Organisations can use it as a guide to planning and investment decisions, and to guide realistic user expectations in light of market hype and exuberance. Here’s a summary of the trends identified.
Pattern-Based Strategy: a framework for proactively seeking and acting on the early and often-termed “weak” signals forming patterns in the marketplace. It’s also about the ability to model the impact of patterns on your organisation and identify the disciplines and technologies that help you consistently adapt.
Social Network Analysis: views social relationships in terms of network theory consisting of nodes and ties. Nodes are the individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors. The resulting graph-based structures are often very complex.
Crowd sourcing: the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call.
Personal Security Applications Embedded in Social Media: widgets focused on protection of user privacy and security.
Socialcasting: a movement in online video that combines traditional media content, social networking, and interactive community to create a unique experience for viewers on the Web. Web 2.0 meets TV 2.0.
Enterprise Internet Reputation Management: the implications to reputation online where people and businesses interact. Opinion, influence, anonymity, persistent data, ad-based search engines, few regulators, and criminal interests coexist and intersect.
Simultaneous Collaborative Editing: a form of collaborative software application that allows several people to edit a computer file using different computers. There are two types of collaborative editing: real-time and non-real-time. It’s synchronous (simultaneous), meaning that users can edit the same file at the same time.
Idea Marketplaces: enable organisations to source innovative ideas, technologies, products and services by connecting them to innovators and solution providers from around the world.
Social Analytics: the process of measuring, analysing and interpreting the results of interactions between brands and consumers and/or businesses across digital channels in the context of specific goals and objectives.
At the peak:
Social Software Standards: open activity streams (Facebook, Friendfeed and Tweetdeck are examples of activity stream applications.) Portable identity, contacts and data (OpenID, Facebook Connect and Google Accounts are examples of portability applications). Location-based standards (Foursquare, Latitudes, Loopt are examples of location based services.)
Sentiment Analysis: determines the attitude of a user with respect to some topic. The attitude may be their judgment or evaluation, their affective state (that is to say, their emotional state ) or the intended emotional communication (Autonomy, Buzzmetrics are examples).
Social Profiles: representation of a social network user, his/her social links, and a variety of additional services.
Social-Data Portability: the option to share or move ones personal data between trusted social applications
Activity Streams: (see above).
Expertise Location and Management: an offshoot of knowledge management, focused on capturing the experience of an organisation’s staff in a searchable format that can help it gain an edge on external and internal projects.
Social-Media Consulting: the provision of advice and services for how to use social media tools to connect products, services or ideas with customers or other audiences.
External Community Platforms: social network software platforms for the enterprise.
Sliding into the trough:
Mobile Social Networks: is social networking where one or more individuals of similar interests or commonalities, conversing and connecting with one another using the mobile phone. Web-based networks MySpace and Facebook have mobile applications. In parallel, native mobile social networks like Foursquare and Gowalla are gaining ground. (Editor: I’d love to see the report to understand why Gartner says these are sliding!)
Prediction Markets: are speculative markets created for the purpose of making predictions. Assets are created whose final cash value is tied to a particular event (e.g., will the next US president be a Republican) or parameter (e.g., total sales next quarter). The current market prices can then be interpreted as predictions of the probability of the event or the expected value of the parameter. Prediction markets are thus structured as betting exchanges, without any risk for the bookmaker.
Unified Communications and Collaboration: is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), video conferencing, call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax).
Microblogging: differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically much smaller, in both actual size and aggregate file size. A microblog entry could consist of nothing but a short sentence fragment, an image or embedded video. (Editor: With the growing pervasiveness of Twitter…can this be true?)
Social Bookmarking: a method for Internet users to organise, store, manage and search for bookmarks of resources online. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren’t shared, merely bookmarks that reference them. Examples are Delicious, Reddit, Digg! (Editor: I agree with this one!)
Open-Source Social Software: a range of software systems that allow users to interact and share data and is available in source code form under a software license that permits users to study, change, and improve the software.
Internal Community Platforms: software packages to service communities within the enterprise or organisation (behind the firewall).
Personal Subscriptions: the term is too vague to interpret accurately but could relate to the business model where services and content is provided to individual subscribers. (Editor: Mr Murdock wants to prove this wrong!)
Social Software Suites: a collection of social computing programs, usually application software and programming software of related functionality, often sharing a more-or-less common user interface and some ability to smoothly exchange data with each other.
Idea Management: a process which streamlines and structures idea creation and handling within an organisation.
Climbing the slope:
Social Search: a type of web search that takes into account the social graph of the person initiating the query. Relevance is determined by content created or touched by users in the Social Graph.
Wikis: are websites that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis power community websites for personal note taking or in corporate intranets and in knowledge management systems.
Folksonomies/Social Tagging: systems of classification derived from the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorise content.
Corporate Blogs: are published and used by an organisation to reach its goals. The advantage of blogs is that posts and comments are easy to reach and follow due to centralised hosting and generally structured conversation threads. (Editor: About time!)
Entering the plateau:
Presence: term is too vague to interpret accurately, but could refer to appearance of a person or organisation on the World Wide Web. (Editor: Does Gartner mean the corporate Website is on the wane?)
Blog: a type of website usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. (Editor: not sure I agree with this. New bloggers are born every day :-))