Thursday, April 24, 2003

Social Software Testbed

I went to the first meeting of the Social Software Alliance last night, and had an interesting thought (which I suggested to the crowd to general approval but specific disagreement).

What social software needs is a dedicated testbed. A real challenge in building social software is that it is very difficult to test, since you need a certain critical mass of users before you can really see the interesting emergent behavior. If you're a company like Groove, then you can afford to have large teams of testers, but in general, the lightweight startups or open sourcers have a more difficult time.

If there was a group of people -- call them the Social Software Testbed -- that agrees to move their discussion/collaboration/archives/whatever to a new system every month. Hard stop, new start. There's only a specific kind of person that would enjoy, or even tolerate, such an unstable system, but fortunately that kind of person exists. Even a group of 50 or so would be enough to provide enormous benefits to research, innovation, and visibility for new and interesting projects.

I definitely want to be involved, and want to make this happen. So who's with me?