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Saturday, September 22, 2007


Damon Billian

Social graph almost sounds like "sociopath", imho;-) When are we going to use "social path"?


@Jesse: I resemble that remark.

Edward Vielmetti

The sociologists call this a "sociogram" and credit it to Moreno (1934).

I see this exact phrase in the similar sense in Google Book Search from the novel "American Chrome" by Edwin Gilbert, 1965:

"The new pair had made a remarkable rise on the social graph of Kent Hills. And already Blanche was penetrating the small clan of culture bees of whom Myra was still the tenacious queen."


Dave - we know you are a facebook whore... you hang out with those guys, drink their kool-aid and of course are organizing a conference about FB... why should we even doubt that you loooove the term social graph. after all your MASTER coined it - Mark Zuckerberg.


I should say, "Facebook was the first to do that, so they deserve a huge chunk of credit."

Still, let's face it, more people know Google and Yahoo! than know Facebook. Facebook, really, only has the tech community and the 20-25 college-educated demographic sewn up.


Well, while it's not true that RSS = XML it is true that RSS ⊆ XML, mathematically speaking.

In any event, I don't think the analogy holds. The idea of a social graph has existed for a long time. Anthropologists construct them when they analyze tribal dynamics. Here's an explicit example where an edge relationship means "has had sex with":

So, the "social network race" is really a race for who can be the first to create a high-fidelity digitized version of the social graph that exists in real world. That's why I said it's like the human genome project: it's a race to be the first to create a standard, digitized version of something we all have known has existed for decades.

The "format" battle, i.e., RSS vs. Atom vs. some other XML, is the battle between the people trying to create social networks.

Just because you don't have website centered around people creating profiles and the like doesn't mean it's not a "social network." Google and Yahoo! both have huge amounts of data on latent social networks, in the form of address books, buddy lists, browsing habits, etc.

They just haven't made it available to the world at large in a standardized way (yet). Facebook was the first to do that.


and since I didn't notice your link to it I'll just shut up now


haha, funnily enough it's been pointed out to me that Dave Winer just made a post about this very thing


Well you're good to go then :)


um, my major in college was applied mathematics... i took at least 2 courses in graph theory.


Isn't it about time that we put a moratorium on people who haven't even heard of graph theory saying "social graph"?

Dave Winer

Dave, I wouldn't disagree with calling RSS XML, in fact, if you look at the terminology I used before it became popular I did just that. And at times (in the UI of Radio 8) I called them feeds. You won't find very many occurrences of "RSS" in the UI of that app. It was a deliberate decision, because at the time I thought users would understand "feed" better. And I wanted to call it XML because that was getting so much coverage in the press, I figured it might make sense to make the hypesters honest and show some XML actually making a difference.

But RSS is a subset of XML, some XML is RSS but not all XML is RSS. Social network and social graph are different terms for the same thing. And I've seen so many people, reporters, analysts, lawyers, VCs, get confused by the distinction, that I felt it was time to say something.

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