We read articles on how email is not social and email is a silo then followed with social networks are about openness and sharing. Actually you can make either one exactly the same.
While social networks have sharing capabilities, it actually follows the same design and structure as email always has. The difference is email has mentally been grandfathered into our minds as a silo and shelter of knowledge.
If we think of the security and sharing model they inherently act identically. Both have groups that you can share with, such as Path, Google+ and Facebook. Both have search ability for yourself or against other’s data if allowed, such as Facebook and Twitter. Both email and social networks can isolate data from everyone.
So why do we feel that storing identical information in another storage facility is called sharing? Because we are told so. Sites claim email is bad, not a sharing mechanism and then in the same sentences tell you that you sharing in email is limited.
Isn’t sending an email that links to an attachment the same as a tweet that does so? If I select my followers (approve them to a protected feed in other terms) then I am setting a group of who can see my data. The same goes for URL’s. The larger group I send to the more see it.
Social networks do the same and keep track of what you can see the same as email. The interface for storage is just entirely different. A huge database knows what tweets you have rights to see and search against via security. Facebook social graph performs the same way. You can only see what has been shared with you or publicly.
So instead of saying the file storage mechanism in email isn’t conducive to sharing the model of access and security may simply need to be retooled to make it so. Protected folders by groups or privacy. Public folders for everyone to search against. Oh wait, email has already been doing that for years. And IBM tried mapping all this in Raven / Discovery Server years ago. Yes, ahead of their time.
What do you think? Can email be retooled to act exactly like social networks? Is it one already? I think it is. Let’s debate.