- The basic problem with Personalization is that tailoring information to you limits social discovery. Users contribute value to the database only for them and the service provider, not for each other ... Nowhere in this mode is sharing, conversations, remixing and socializing information.
By contrast, consider how social software enables people to create their own networks. Groups form, information is shared and implicit and explicit relationships are fostered.
Personalization relies on the strength of the community. It is the shared data between users that allows the system to find relationships and make recommendations.
But there is one major difference. With personalization, sharing is implicit and anonymous. With social software, sharing is explicit and public.
There are two problems with explicit sharing:
- It requires work. A lot of work. People don't like to do work.
- The quality of recommendations is low. Why? Chris Anderson said it best: "No matter who you are, someone you don't know has found the coolest stuff." Limiting discovery to what your friends have found cripples the system.
- The appeal of personalization is sheer convenience. Today social software fails, with a few exceptions, to deliver the same level of convenience at scale, but give it time.