I was talking to Hugh Macleod of gapingvoid yesterday – he is one of the world’s foremost practitioners in the art of social object creation and community sustenance. Stormhoek wines. The Blue Monster. The Gaping Void itself: cartoons on the back of business cards (what more social object is there than a non-boring business card? Hugh was MOO before MOO came through.) This morning it struck me – with open source every project, every component, every bug fix is a social object. Open source software is social media. It has rules and connection points, repositories and group norms. Subversive thinking around Subversion. OSS projects are tools for finding like minds. Ohloh is a new service that begins to span the two worlds. When I went to do a quick search on “social object” at Hugh’s place I came across this, which led me to this, which finally led me here, where I could check out these 5 principles of social objects, as put forward by Jaiku founder Jyri Engstrom.
1. You should be able to define the social object your service is built around.
2. Define your verbs that your users perform on the objects. For instance, eBay has buy and sell buttons. It’s clear what the site is for.
source code and version control
3. How can people share the objects?
depends on the license
4. Turn invitations into gifts.
this will help you too, can you help me improve it for both of us?
5. Charge the publishers, not the spectators.
not sure how this maps to OSS
This blog is really just a placeholder for discussion. Am I barking or does OSS as social media make sense? It certainly fosters good conversations. I tend to think the reason Hugh got his analysis of OSS so wrong here is that he wasn’t thinking about social objects, but “shareholder value”. Interestingly enough open source software projects don’t obey Hugh’s Law.
bonus thoughts: O’Reilly’s architecture of participation. The incredible power of View Source. And so on…
1. Anticipated Reciprocity
3. ‘Sense of Efficacy’
4. Identification with a group
Like OSS, yes?