July 5, 2007

Social Networks as a Mashup

Embedded Video

So this is a great video showing some powerful technology connected to a social networking site. In this case, the software is analyzing images from Flickr and making an actual visual (or virtual/physical) representation of a real structure. The video has been passed around the web and is really worth checking out. However, the underlying connection or mash-up, of the social network data and the software's ability to interpret that data is what is very interesting.

Imagine applying the same concept to a learning situation. Your facebook or (social network of your choice) data and your learning management system data learning content support system or even your personal learning environment (PLE) (if that is what you want to call it).

Once you have a "goal" or even a topic of interest, the system could begin to search the social network for all activity that is happening around that topic and begin to analyze the activity. That activity would mostly like lead to connections of conversations through blogs, images through Flickr or more structured like slideshare, videos through YouTube or Viddler. So the data collected would include a
  1. community of people interested in the activity
  2. conversations around the activity and
  3. related content to the activity.
The learning support system would need to analyze this network and the included data and make some data-driven assumptions about the relationships and context of the information. Then based on that analysis the content (or any relative information embedded within the network) could be presented to the learner in a learner-friendly environment.

Hopefully, more on this later.


  1. What's cool about it is the front-end interface AND the "behind-the-scenes" algorithm are both ridiculously cool. That's a ton of work to get both right.

    It's cool to put all of that effort in an algorithm, and trust in it to basically create the front-end. Without the algorithm working as well as it did (in that video) the front-end would not convey the "coolness" of what was going on, there. It's impressive to say the least.

    I think I've seen that video before (I've at least read about photo synth at some point)... still cool to watch again.

  2. Thanks for the comment Ryan. I was blown away when I first saw it and watching it again. I think there are going to be many more amazing technologies like this in the next 3 to 5 years that is going to blow us away.

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