Social Networks and Rabbits

"I can’t take many more social networks. These are worse than email and that’s just the “are you a friend?” requests."

Scoble hits the nail on the head with these two sentences. I was talking with a friend just last week and made a comment about there surely being a growing opportunity to develop a meta-social network that does nothing but aggregate, filter, and present the many social networks we all belong to.

It’s not just a Facebook and Myspace issue either, but Twitter and Pownce and Yahoo Groups and Google Groups and eventually everything else that enables a social dimension. Technology is scalable, my 1,440 minutes of attention per day is not.

In further thinking about it I realized that it’s not interoperability of the networks that is the big roadblock, but rather the interoperability of identity systems because in order for any third party app to present another application it has to impersonate the user by presenting credentials that the user enters.

Only being an identity groupie myself, as opposed to a full fledged expert, I’m ill-equipped to present and debate the technical issues at work here but I sure wish more people would, and do it beginning with "what this means…" so that modately technical people can grasp the significance of what is evolving to be a massive issue.

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6 thoughts on Social Networks and Rabbits

  1. I suppose I should explain the title of this post… it occurred to me that these social networks have no technical barriers to entry so they have a natural tendency to replicate at astonishing rates, consolidate and segment, then grow again. In other words, they multiply like rabbits…

  2. Glad to know I’m not the only one thinking about this. I’d really like to be able to log-in with one user account (say LinkedIN) and be able to view and interact with all my other social networking apps.

    I don’t think I’ve seen an API that lets me manipulate an account with out validating the ID. Yet, I can update Twitter on my phone or post to my blog over email. These methods don’t require the username & password for validation. So, if I could do this securely without storing tens of user IDs – we’d be on to something. If not I think we’re looking at an Adium-type app.

  3. Plaxo I think is doing this with the Plaxo Pulse feature they have in the Plaxo 3.0 beta.

  4. I agree, and I raised this point in the Facebook-is-a-platform discussion the Enterprise Irregulars had. There are a few good open meta identity standards out there but it is not clear any of the big guys will bite. The best hope is that the newbie sites accept OpenID or similar and that eventually tips the big guys one day.

    Till then “Single Sign On” for every site.

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  6. Hard to believe this hasn’t already been done, or at least attempted. I hope we’ll see something soon b/c unlike you, I am not able to devote 1,440 attentive minutes every day.

    There will be movement here eventually, an uber-site (like Pidgin for IM clients) that forces convergence, allowing you to be “online you” in any network and unifying all your contacts into a single place (and in the darkness bind them).

    Nice post.

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