Monday, August 06, 2007

Web 2.0 - time for social networks to grow up, open up

Slashdot is having yet another raving discussion/permathread about social networking's lack of openness. This is a topic I have strong feelings about. The rise of microformats has made this type of thing possible but perhaps it is time for a more formal standards process to build interfaces between places such as Facebook, MySpace, Mix2r, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.

What advantages would such a standard have?

First, it would allow any new social network startup to get enough information to seed their idea based on opt-in choices being made by those who own their data.

Second, an API would allow people who use the networks to quickly change their profile across multiple networks, instead of having to manually change things as is done today. An example of this is MySpace and Mix2r. When you put out a new mix of music, you have to manually upload it to both sites. If there was a standardized API for updating audio that could syndicate out to all control points, it would ease the maintenance of social networks.

Third, it would help with the synchronized web pattern. If a site is out of sync, it would be able to detect the error and notify the data owner to ask if they want it updated to reflect changes on other sites.

These are just a few examples of the architectural advantages of being open. Yes - owners of walled gardens do not often want to build gates, but they really need to get over themselves and start looking at what the community wants.


  1. have you reviewed social network yet?

  2. Not yet (referring to Zooped) but it looks promising. Has Zooped undertaken to provide some form of interface to make it more open? I see that it mashes up a lot of content from other web 2.0 sites.

    Very cool!


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