Bobbie Johnson seems sympathetic with Pinboard founder Maciej Ceglowski’s manifesto that the social graph we have today is neither social, nor a graph. His argument mostly centers on a lack of standardization and a focus on marketing objectives. As a guy that used to have “Unix” on his business card, I’ve seen “open systems” and standards body-driven technologies come and go. The recurring theme: He who ships, wins. And if only Facebook had designed its graph from the bottom up for marketers, well, then social media marketing might actually work. I don’t dispute that there are many, competing definitions of how to describe social relationships out there. Or that better ones that lots of developers and – yes, marketers – can use will arise. But the marketplace is looking pretty efficient at building them right now. Kind of like how we never needed a Dewey Decimal system for the web, because search and linking and folksonomies worked pretty well.
In a smart essay on the technical origins of today’s social networks, Pinboard founder Maciej Ceglowski explores the idea of why the social graph doesn’t work in the way we need — and explodes it in the process.