Social software in the real world?

I’m sort of interested in social software and I’ve signed up for every networking site since MIT’s Firefly and Sixdegrees but I’ve always thought that it’s all a bit academic until we start to see some second-order networking applications – sites whose primary function isn’t just… well… networking… but something else, something more specific – like losing weight, for instance, or unloading the contents of your attic on eBay.

David Galbraith alerts me to a really quite nifty new chat application that he’s been helping out with called Chatango and David MaCaney, CEO of Dublin-based Cafeslim, is connecting his customers – the slimmers – to help them get more from his weight loss programme. Chatango does IM-style presence detection without a download and that means your chat identity can be an ordinary http URL which – this is the neat bit – means you can paste it into your eBay or Craigslist listings and invite people to ‘click to chat’. I’ve signed up for Chatango (but not for Cafeslim – which is probably the wrong way round) so you can now chat with me (provided I’m online) by clicking here: