Take My Email … Please

Tim O’Reilly follows up an email discussion he and I have been having about the architecture of participation and drive-by data by pointing out that real social networks are out there and ready to be modeled — it’s email: 

When is a vendor of email or phone or address book products going to figure this out? Watch who I communicate with, how often, and in what patterns, and give me tools for managing my network better based on that analysis.

Right on.


  1. Plaxo does this a little bit. it looks at your sent messages, and finds those with high frequency that are not in your contacts.

  2. Spoke does this exactly – or at least they used to (I haven’t used the product in quite some time). When I tried to get others to use it, however, at least 2/3 of the people who tried Spoke got spooked (no pun intended) by this ‘feature’ and wouldn’t use the product because of it.

  3. The answer is in front of you: GMail. Google will do all this. Being able to search all of your mail will prove very powerful when they integrate other productivity apps like a calendar, RSS and chat. It’ll be practical application of social networking, and it will be automatic.