Classifying collaboration systems

When I first began to explore social media technologies I came to realise that many of them shared similar characterstics, although there were also very clear distinctions between each type of service. I came up with the following list of attributes that can define many collaboration technologies:

  • Structure: Pre-planned tree / web, or tag captured – structure may apply to storage and / or to search and retrieval mechanism
  • Time Flow: Stream or Static
  • User-editable: none, footnotes /comments, full
  • Delivery: Push (to mail inbox), Pull (browse to)

If you consider for a moment blogs, wikis, RSS feeds and mailing groups you might see the significance of each attribute.

Of course I have since realised that this was focussed more on factual data media, rather than on relationship and brokering media, common in social networks systems, and possibly a spectrum between the extremes. There is clearly room to expand this list of attributes, but at least this is a start.

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