GitHub – A Social Network With A Purpose

by • April 25, 2014 • Guest BloggersComments Off on GitHub – A Social Network With A Purpose5257

GitHub describe themselves as “the best place to share code.” But its users know it’s much more than a collaboration platform: it’s a social network for developers.

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GitHub offers a rich set of social interactions, actually much richer than a typical social network. Users can “follow” other users, but they can also “star”, “watch” and “fork” repositories (code). They can also open “issues”, comment on issues, and of course, do a “pull request” (think of it as a real-world gift).

On the contrary to Facebook or LinkedIn, GitHub is not a social network for the sake of it. I mean, GitHub would be a useful service to you even if you were the only developer using it. GitHub has a purpose, and this underlying purpose —sharing code— is why social interactions can be richer and, in my opinion, more valuable.

It’s not just GitHub. I could think of other services that have developed a social graph as a side effect, too.

Take Airbnb for example: people connected because they’ve lived in the exact same place, or even shared an appartment for a couple of days. That’s a really strong connection —compare it to most of your hundreds of Facebook friends— there must be some value in it.

I’m not saying it’s trivial, but I believe there is a lot of untapped value, both for the users and the services, in these social graphs. “Social networks with a purpose”, could be a big thing, if their underlying social graph is treated as such, and we are given the tools to get the most out of the connections we make there.

This article was written by Panayotis Vryonis. You can read more from him on his blog.

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