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Social Tools = Categorization Tools

A lot of nonsense is being said about “social (tools)” like weblogs, forums and so on.

The reason weblogs grew popular (and people asked themselves: why should I use that) is simple: it gives people a way to categorize information.

Whether is a blog, a wiki, a mindmap, a list of bookmarks… these all serve as tools to somehow categorize information.

To categorize information we need meta data (like the title, data, author), we need taxonomies (1 dimensional tags, taxonomies as build into WordPress) and we need ways to view the information in different ways.

The reason people post on Facebook is not to make friends happy but, after some time, get a chronological overview of the  stuff they did, ergo use it as an external memory storage and later analyze the things they posted and leverage on this.

The reason people blog on a gazillion blogs is to store information for later: handy things, things that probably tells something about themselves, so that they later on can analyze and leverage on these insights. The reason we “like” is because we want to have a list of things we like so that we can uncover sets in this information to categorize all our relations.

So all of these tools should focus on empowering people just to do that: give them as much as possible ways to categorize information and play with this information to gain new insights.

I think the background on this is that we are categorization machines. The reason we are self conscious is that we, at a certain age, have categorized ourselves in the reality we categorized. The reason we are here is because we are beings that are better in categorizing than species that died out. “It is in our genes”.

It also shows the large gap and potential business opportunities with existing tooling because after 10 minutes of brainstorming you will probably yourself come up with a list of hundreds of components that you would need to this task well and which are in no existing social tool out there.

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