One Social Networking Site to Rule them All

Please note this is kinda of a rant on the state of on-line social networking data sharing thing.

Social Networking is everywhere!, its important, intrinsic and relevant now to modern society. Everywhere its Facebook this, Orkut that, Hyves too. However there is a problem, one simple little problem and its todo with your identity.

I have recently been cleaning up my Google Profile, my single page on the web where I declaring who I am and what I am connected to.  I have been updating the sites that I have a login on such as WordPress, Facebook, Google Reader etc and removing outdated ones such as Photobucket and Youtube (even livejournal). This primarily spurred on by my recent decision to join Hyves a social networking site that is popular in the Netherlands. Once I had joined and twittered it, a friend twittered back with the following (or close as):

Why don’t you just build an app to automatically share content between the two to stop you having to update them both separatly.

Which is when I realised the obvious, I have to update both individually from now on unless there is some app to do it for me. Is there? well I dunno, but what we are seeing these days are a series of semi-integration apps. Like the Twitter & Identi.ca with Facebook that allow us to send tweets (micro blogs) to all three at the same time. The new Facebook Connect ID system which had the added bonus of when I recently signed into Digg it found my friends who were also on Digg. My ability to integrate my blog and RSS feed with Facebook and Hyves. However the integration is not complete. Yes when I tweet and someone comments on Facebook, even though they may have twitter or identi.ca those comments are not propograted to all those services. Similarly the formatting for the blogs is not carried across. Taking inspiration from Tolkiens famous little poem:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

What we need is:

One Social Networking Site to Rule them All, One Site to find them,
One Site to bring them all and in the ether bind them,
In THE CLOUD where the information lies

Looking at it more pragmatically what we need to see is full integration apps, so that when someone comments on my status in Facebook or Hyves or Orkut that has been uploaded via Twitter and posted on Identi.ca the comment is updated on all the sites that the person has profiles on. Also a common set of profile information i.e. an open standard, needs to be defined in every social networking site in order for the information to be propogated from one site to another without me having to do it manually.

In reality the foundation for this is already here with things like OAuth, Facebook Connect, OpenID, OpenSocial and Facebook API. The most promising one being Facebook Connect with their four features stated in their originating blog post for the system from last year of:

  1. Trusted Authentication
  2. Real Identity
  3. Friends Access
  4. Dynamic Privacy

Not to forget the many other sites that are offering API’s to their data. Unfortunately it appears to be a case of Goliath versus Goliath versus Goliath with all sides trying to win what is essentially a battle of mind sets, just like the Cold Ware was about in the 50’s. 60’s and 70’s.  At the end of the day both sides are technically correct, with there modus operandi yet just like the hippies of the 60’s:

Why can’t we all learn to live together in peace and harmony?

Or more pragmatically why can’t they agree to a common subset of API calls for the core data nd allow this to be shared. It shouldn’t be the case that I am only restricted to one site. Maybe this is happening I just dunno, maybe this blog post is late to the game and the stuff is already here, but if its why can’t I connect my Hyves to my Facebook and let the data be shared. Or see full integration between Twitter and Facebook or Hyves and Twitter.

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One Response to One Social Networking Site to Rule them All

  1. theshadowhost says:

    isnt this what friendfeed does?

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