How social networking might change the world
Innovation is our new column that highlights the latest emerging technological ideas and where they may lead
Can social networks change the world? Yes, they can, in the words of Barack Obama’s election campaign. That campaign itself provided evidence that the tools of “Web 2.0″ nike store the community driven web can really make a difference, delegates at the Terra future conference in London heard this week.
Last September, tech guru Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, challenged the Web 2.0 community to come up with something more productive than time wasting Facebook applications singling out “Superpoke”, which invites users to interact with their friends by throwing imaginary sheep at each other (among other things), for particular derision.
At this week’s conference, UK based social media consultant Chris Thorpe pointed out that just a month after O’Reilly’s clarion call, the Obama election campaign launched the Obama ’08 iPhone application. The application organised and prioritised contacts in key battleground states, “making it easy [for campaigners] to reach out and make an impact quickly”.
The application also showed how the user’s call statistics compared with the national average. As CNET said: “Those statistics are the kind that can motivate people they can nike store feel like they’re part of something bigger.”
Thorpe told the conference about a number of other networking sites that might satisfy O’Reilly’s challenge.
The site is supposed to provide a counterpoint to the G 20 in April, when finance ministers and central bank governors from the world’s leading economies will meet in London. We20 aims to draw solutions from the community discussion, rather than relying on politicians to lead the way although it’s not clear what, if anything, it will achieve.
But Glen Lyons, professor of transport and society at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK, told the conference nike store about a more established social network that is already beginning to deliver on its aims. Since its inception in 2007, Zimride claims to have enabled some 300,000 users worldwide to carpool who might otherwise never have met.
Thorpe thinks social media applications like this one might be the way of the future. Facebook users might one day compete to see who can gain the most “global karma points”, he says working for the greater good, rather than for their own amusement.
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