A quick something on social software. It's important to clarify what the problem space is here. I'm reluctant to say it's possible to classify groups, but I think it is possible to label the sort of activity a group is performing into push and pull. I've nicked those terms from queue theory (see my post on queue theory and the NHS), and use them for different ways of exploring a landscape. Pull is undirected or atelic. Think about how evolution works, or an idle conversation. Push on the other hand is a goal-oriented, industrial process. It's directed or telic. These media terminology notes have more descriptive word associations.
Telic communities (formally organised into corporations, teams, pressure groups) are hard enough normally, and what I believe social software is concerned with is how to provide for these group activities when the secret properties of the real world aren't present. The most important of these are:
So that's why I say we have to look at how successful teams work. Some of the things I'm thinking about:
Thinking. I'm away for the next week so if you see any good social software reading material, please leave it in the comments.