Yesterday saw the release of Skype 1.4.0.78
Apart from some bugfixes, extra language support and improving on the API (important!), Skype makes a small step to adding social networking like features to Skype with this 1.4 release.
The profile page will now show how many people are in your contact list. This can have interesting consequences, as Stuart at SkypeJournal also notes. For those of you who are publicly listed this might be something to opt out of, but I use Skype with a closed list of users, and can only be called by people in my list (though I leave the chat function open). These are people that are part of my social network, and I am happy to share my network with them. Otherwise they would not be in my list in the first place. So for those people I might want to disclose not only the number of contacts (which to me means nothing) but who those contacts are.
That to me would be a better way of sharing my network than with for instance LinkedIn. Not in terms of the information that is shared, but because of where that information resides. With LinkedIn OpenBC and all other YASN’s I hand over my information to a third party. What I’d really want is a peer to peer social networking application, as it allows people to control the information at the source (themselves) and share what they like in situations they like. FOAF builds on that, but is only a machine readable format at this stage. Maybe piggybacking on existing peer to peer infrastructure such as Skype is a way to gain traction for a distributed social networking functionality?