Your social graph, or social network as Wikpedia defines it, “is a social structure made of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes,” which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.”
I think there’s a new Graph developing as well, called a Commercial Graph. (Well, I’m calling it that anyway.) While it’s exactly the same as social with regards to the interconnectedness of entities, it’s clearly different in it’s commercial nature. A Commercial Graph would explain the complex inter-relationships of a company with it’s various stakeholders. In fact, creation of a Commercial Graph may be a valuable tactic when exectuing a Stakeholder Analysis project. Individuals of course have Commercial as well as Social relationships. In the increasingly blurred world of where the lines are today, the Prosumer, (so-called Professional Customer), may have both social and commercial relationships with those fomerly thought of as social only. Or commercial only.
The OpenSky Project is a great example of a Commercial Graph forming both between Shopkeepers and their customers. The company is a growing collection of niche oriented Shopkeepers running stores that have special collections of products in their niche. Each of these Shopkeepers typically has a Blog for which they became popular in their niche. So these Shopkeepers have had real existing relationships with their audience; who are now also becoming customers. As well, the Shopkeepers may build relationships with each other. In another new service, called Tracked.com, former Quigo advertising service CEO Michael Yavonditte is creating a place where “business information, communications and connections come together to enhance your business life.” If you click on person somewhere, (via their image or otherwise), you’ll find a collection of links to associated people. Use of this visual network technique may not be entirely new. Others have gone into the publicly available EDGAR databases and others to express various types of Commercial Graph relationships. And there’s all manner of Twitter and Facebook relationship visualization. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of business information here presented fairly cleanly. I can easily see this service becoming a great place to visit for professional and private investors.
From day one, the world wide web has been about relationships. Primarily link relationships set up among various types of data. As we’ve grown the web, we’ve grouped these data points to represent collections of various sorts, including personal profiles, business profiles, etc. And we’ve built links to those as well. It may have taken awhile, but now that this is being done, the relationships we’ve always had among each other; social, commercial or both, are being made clearer. As this happens, it becomes useful to classify the nature of these relationships if only as a filtering mechanism. At a high level, many people do this by saying, “Well, my LinkedIn.com relationshps are business only. Whereas on Facebook, those are my friends.” And lately we’re seeing within these services the ability to tag and classify these relationships. So as much as the web has been and will remain social, there’s plenty of room for growing Commercial Graphs as well.