HOW DID WE GET HERE?
1940s — Memex: One of the precursors to the PC, used to store and catalog an individual’s books, and other paper based products, the ways in which these machines record information can be shared between them, allowing other Memex owners to view the same content. Resulting in one of the first systems of social networking.
1960s — ARPA and Licklider: Dr. J.C.R. Licklider first theorized the use of computers as a communications device, rather than a calculation machine.
1960s — Augmentation: First successful online system created, used hypertext functionality, referred to as the NLS, or (oNLine System).
1970s — Office Automation: Dedicated word processors emerged, enabling far easier recording of digital information, original intention was to enable all aspects of an office to work together, hence office automation, unfortunately this fell through.
1970s — Electronic Information Exchange System (EIES):Was the first large scale implementation of collaborative software. Worked like a primitive BBS.
1980s — Groupware (Part 1): Specialized terms began to emerge as social networks became reality, groupware is defined as: "intentional group processes plus software to support them." Or more accessibly "Computer-based systems that support groups of people engaged in a common task (or goal) and that provide an interface to a shared environment."
1980s — Computer-Supported Collaborative (or sometimes Cooperative) Work (CSCW): The academic world disliking the idea that someone else was coming up with specialized terms created their own longer term to refer to what is pretty much the same thing. "CSCW is a generic term which combines the understanding of the way people work in groups with the enabling technologies of computer networking, and associated hardware, software, services and techniques."
1990s — Groupware (Part 2): Eager to get in on the action, marketing executives co-opted the term groupware, and began to stretch it to fit as many products as possible. The definition is now "software that integrates work on a single project by several concurrent users at separated workstations"
1990s — Origin of Social Software: At the same time groupware was losing its meaning, the term social software was emerging. Often used to refer to communities like Xanada and AMIX.
2000s — Evolution of Social Software: It took until 2002 for the term social software to reach the public eye and undergo regular use.
2000s — Changing Definitions of Social Software: Finally a simple definition, social software is "software that supports group interaction" Dr. J.C.R. Licklider himself, rather creepy looking.
(Courtesy: Facebook Social Networking)
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