Euan puts a better suit on something I've been saying since I found out what end-to-end meant. That the ends in question are not devices but their users and that connecting people is what this stuff is all about. Social networks are all about finding stuff
A question from Dave Snowden on Twitter about what I thought the best semantic search tool was and my rather facetious response "the meatware" reminded me of something I am more and more convinced of. Social networks are about finding stuff. Finding documents, finding people, even finding human contact.
[...] Twitter is making this ubiquitous access to an outboard brain more obvious to more people and there has even been talk of it replacing Google for some. The point is you can only do this if you have a high quality network of people doing the filtering and collective noticing for you. Building up these networks, and building "credit" by helping others, will become key skills and the people who invest the effort will find the better stuff faster.
Exactly. And as Geoff Brown suggests in the comments, there is no best practise or other CYA you can call upon, there is no technological solution to it, you have to get out there and make contacts, some of which turn into connections and associates and colleagues and eventually friends. And you have to filter them into a network of trusted people whose judgement you accept and whose values you share.
You do that through conversation, but you also do it through FOAF, both explicitly ("I think you'd get on well with XX") and implicitly because someone you trust relies on someone you don't know.
They problem for many "networkers" is that you can't do it by going to a conference and splashing your business card about and having 3-minute dates. You get there by persistence, shared resources, gifts of knowledge or help. There are no shortcuts, it requires consistency, contact and communication and very often the benefits are paid forward from people you don't know which just keeps opening out the net of the meatware search engine. Those with good engines will work quickly and effectively, those without will struggle, those who think in terms of silver bullets and best practise wont even be in the game.