The Social Graph: Hope or Hype?

The term ‘social graph’ is evolving rapidly into a buzzword du jour.  The Plasticmind blog had a good overview of the notion of social graphs in the broader context of social networking if you want some background.  Since returning from the HR technology conference last month, I’ve been trying to get my head around how social networking (and things like the social graph) are going to impact HR in the near term.

In an effort to think about it beyond the next cool software demonstration, I am intrigued by how we can leverage the technology we in HR ‘own’ for populating social graphs.  In most organizations, HR is generally the system of record for demographic data (sometimes even including e-mail address), organizational structure information and supervisor data.  If we wanted to feed a social graph for the organization into a set of social networking technologies, these sources of data are powerful and valuable.  Couple that with the attention being paid to creating technology APIs to connect with social networks (Google is the latest), there’s lots of innovation to contemplate.  It’s also getting closer to home — Chuck Allen made some interesting observations on the topic in his HR-XML blog as well.

Today’s post is to merely raise the question and ask — has anyone else contemplated the problem?  How do you think HR executives are going to embrace (or oppose) the idea of enabling their organization’s social graph and exposing it to the wide functions social networks can provide?  I have more questions than answers at this point, but I’ll be blogging more about the topic as I figure it out.

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One Response to The Social Graph: Hope or Hype?

  1. Jennifer D. says:

    There’s an explanation of some of the challenges of the concept of the social graph exaplined in the Web Strategist blog: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2007/11/02/explaining-opensocial-to-your-executives/ that may be relevant to your path of thinking.

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