Fork me on GitHub

There is a lot of news about social networks in the last couple of weeks, with Facebook reaching 1B users, a brand new look for MySpace giving people hope for the struggling social network, the great Twitter migration to App.net and what a master of improv Dick Costolo is, writing Twitters script.

All of these news items are in some way trying to convince us of what the future of social networking will look like, declaring Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and App.net as a contender. While all of these social networks aren’t going anywhere, I think there is one social network that represents the future of all social networks--Github.

If you don’t know what Github is, you probably aren’t a programmer. Github is a social network built around the software version control software Git.  Using Github, programmers can collaborate around repositories of code, which allows them to download, fork and commit back code in any format--making software development a social endeavor amongst potentially thousands of developers.

While Github is primarily a social network of programmers, repositories don’t have to be just code. Github repositories can contain HTML, text files and many other formats that can be edited by anybody--allowing the power of version control and collaboration to occur between anyone, in any business sector.

I just finished watching Clay Shirky’s talk on how the Internet will (one day) transform government, using the platform to deal with a flood of new, often times divergent, ideas. As always, Clay masterfully uses history to lay the groundwork for his argument, that social collaboration and version control with Github is in alignment with how democracy should work.

While Twitter and Facebook have proven to evoke profound social change, I think Github holds amazing potential for change as well. And whether it is allowing developers to build open source software, government to make the legal process truly inclusive of its citizens or empowering our teachers to collaborate on classroom curriculum--Github holds an amazing amount of untapped potential.

Github opens up unlimited possibilities for much more constructive and meaningful social interactions than we’ve seen with Twitter and Facebook.  Social interactions that will allow anyone to benefit from the successful aspects of open source software development--unleasing a new era of social networking and collaboration.




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