USA Today article that extends the popular theme of Six Degrees of Separation. Mapping and honing our interconnections
The notion that we wander the planet with no more than six degrees of separation from one another is more than just urbane trivia to Antony Brydon. It's the basis for his new company.
[Thanks to Patti Anklam's blog, Networks, Complexity, and Relatedness
I hadn't really considered Tacit, Entopia and similar software packages as social software before. But in the sense that they are an technological implementation of the six degrees principle, I suppose they are. The companies featured, Visible Path and Spoke Software, setup "search engines" that mine contact information on employee's computers for contact information. Then, if I am trying to contact John Doe, I can ask the software if there is anyone in the company who knows him. Or if there is anyone who knows someone who knows him, for instance a contact with his publicist might be sufficient. The more advanced packages also enable searches across content to connect people who write (and read) similar content.
The article highlights the other uses of this software that I had just not considered in my blind view as a technology enthusiast. Presumably, this kind of software could be used to monitor the connections employees have and then use that information in evaluations and promotions for positions that depend upon building contacts, such as sales. As with any measurement system, this leaves the opening for people to keep two sets of books (be careful what you measure). Also, depending on the trust level within the organization, people may not be willing to share this information with people outside their own internal networks.
"Like crooks keep two sets of books, I think people are going to keep two sets of Outlook files," Krebs said of the popular e-mail software. "One for Visible Path, one for themselves."
Once again, the organization needs to identify what it needs and how the software is going to fill those needs. In cases like this, it becomes critical for the organization to be open about how the software is used - and how it is not used.