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Method to Find Social Network Contacts in an Instant Messaging Environment Based on Social Characteristics Disclosure Number: IPCOM000149674D
Original Publication Date: 2007-Apr-03
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2007-Apr-03
Document File: 2 page(s) / 33K

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Disclosed is a method that allows an IM user to manage their social network to find contacts that possess certain characteristics of interest.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

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Method to Find Social Network Contacts in an Instant Messaging Environment Based on Social Characteristics

Networking is considered by many as the most powerful way to build professional relationships. People often rely on networking contacts to help in personal and business endeavors, and more importantly rely on being able to leverage contacts' networks.

Instant Messaging (IM) users have associated buddy lists (herein referred to as "personal network"), and art exists (U.S. Patent 7,069,308) that allows users to build a social network of contacts (social network consists of a personal network, the personal network's contacts, and can be evolved by several iterations). However, a social network of people who are unknown to a user has its limitations. A user is able to establish a social network, but the user doesn't have a way to manage this network in a way that is useful to the user.

It would be beneficial for a user to not only have access to an associated social network in an IM environment but to be able to find which contacts possess certain traits (beyond basic business card information) that may be beneficial to the user. Access to a user's social network along with social characteristics of other users in the network would provide a much broader and useful reach to contacts than what is offered today.

The advantage of this invention over existing social networking communities is that it provides users with a method to be able to sort through members of associated social networks to find contacts with characteristics that are of interest to the user.

The method described in this invention extends the art disclosed in U.S. Patent
7,069,308 by dynamic generation of this social network depending on the current state of contacts' buddy lists, and allows IM users to query an established social network to find contacts with certain characteristics. Characteristics of contacts can be determined by employing an enterprise user registry (ex: Blue Pages) and social networking tags.

IM applications will extend current functionalities to be able to provide a social networking atmosphere by using the following:

Social Connections will provide a view (graphical, textual, etc.) of how a contact is connected to the user. One example of how this can be viewed is by hovering over a contact's name and being shown the connection to the user. For example, User A has User B as a contact on the buddy list. User B has User C has a contact...