Social Network for Coders

Github is interesting to me because I think it’s a social network. It’s a social network for coders and we don’t really use it for that. One could argue that the comments and community that grows around an open source repository is people using it as a social network. I tend to agree with that. There are still a lot of cases where it’s treated like a replacement for a centralized source control system and that’s where it ends.

On the other hand we use Slack and Twitter all the time to talk with other developers about code that’s inside of Github. We’ll actually follow other developers and share their blog posts. We’ll even share links to Github repos so others can Star and Watch them.

It really makes me wonder what a social network for developers would actually be like. We use Twitter for the online community, we use Slack (or IRC) for our teams at work, we use Github for code, and we use our own blogs to share what we’ve learned or just talk about things we’ve discovered. We even go to conferences and special interest groups like CocoaHeads to talk face to face with others that share our experiences.

I think a social network for developers could have a lot of these things. I think it could actually do some really great things like provide a community feedback for the quality of an open source repository. It could more easily share new projects with others. It could provide learning material directly with the repository itself, or provide conversation about sample code.

Github is interesting to me because it’s nearly there—the lack of a Twitter-style feed is the biggest missing piece. Want to share a sample and have a conversation about it? Create a Gist. Want to describe how you use someone else’s code because the sample didn’t quite work for you? Create a pull request with your better sample. Want to see what code developers you respect are interested in? Follow them and see what they star or look at their profile.

What do you think? I’ve seen Gists shared but then discussed on Slack. I’ve seen developers I know are active have very inactive profiles. Why don’t you use Github as a social network? Please tweet me your thoughts because I’m curious why we attach to non-developer networks and leave those built for us underused.