The LinkedIn Relationship Silo

Seems like all of a sudden the New York Times is a font of knowledge about identity management topics.

In an interview that he gave to Saul Hansell for the BITS blog of the NYT, Dan Nye, the chief executive of LinkedIn, said the following about the emerging idea of a social graph for the web:

“When people tell the story that there will be one graph they are crazy,” he said. “These are different platforms that are built for different purposes, with different members and different relationships between them.”

Isn’t that kind of the reason we need a social graph? There are too many platforms for too many different purposes. But just like we want to have one identity (with multiple personas) that can be selectively used on different parts of the web, we also want to have one social graph that maps all my relationships, and then gives us the power to share certain relationships or relationship types with certain services.

Dan Nye sounds like he believes in the business model of silos. The need for a social graph for the web is similar to the need for a personal identity infrastructure for the web. Both are aimed at breaking down the silos that currently hold our identities and relationships hostage. It is a little tiring to have to become friends with the same people in multiple social networks (I personally have had to do that on both LinkedIn and Facebook).

Or does Dan Nye think that co-workers and professional contacts cannot also be friends?

Seems to me that Dan doesn’t understand the idea behind the social graph. Anyone who wants to know more should check out the following links:

Interestingly enough, Google seems to be about to jump into the social graph discussion. Check out this other BITS blog post about Google’s thoughts on the relevance of the social graph in improving search.