I had a great time talking about LibraryThing with Tim Spalding for this week’s ITConversations show. He says LibraryThing is a baroque application. I think of it as deep in the same ways that Flickr is: Many features, many modes of use, many constituencies. Although Tim is flagellating himself about the way we swam around in those depths, I enjoyed the conversation immensely. If you’re fascinated by the dynamics of social information management — whether or not you are a book-lover — I think you will too.
We wound up talking for almost two hours. I omitted the second hour not only for reasons of length, but also because it raised a question that neither of us felt we were able to address very well. As mentioned in comments here, though, it does warrant further consideration. A lot of folks, me included, feel that the inability to move identity and relationships across social networks is increasingly an impediment to joining them and participating in them.
But Tim rightly points out that friction has value. Rites of initiation are costly for a reason. When you invest effort you create meaning. So here’s the question. How do we separate those aspects of social information management that should be portable and frictionless from those that should be unique and special?