Social Networks Must Talk With Each Other

Posted on April 2nd 2010

Social networks don't talk with each other. They fight with each other. They're not connecting to each other because they want to. They're connecting with the bare minimum because they have to. With customers at the center of the product you think social networks would keep them in mind.

Let's face it: you're not leaving Twitter for Facebook or Facebook for LinkedIn. We all already did the social network solidification dance from Friendster to Myspace to Facebook. Now social networks each serve a very distinct purpose. In the near future they won't. That's exactly what social networks are afraid of and why they won't talk with each other — solidification and redundancy.

I'm not concerned with that right now. As a consumer I'm concerned about time and efficiency, which I'm not getting. I need social networks to understand that I am @db on Twitter and /damienbasile on Facebook. Mainly what I need is for Facebook to be able to parse users Twitter @names into real linked Facebook names automatically. This is why I use Yakket on Facebook to filter out all Twitter messages with @names in them when sending them to Facebook.

People are sharing across multiple social networks at once nowadays. I can send a message from Foursquare to Twitter to Facebook & Linkedin. That's just one message. I may be on multiple networks but if I'm optimizing my time to post across them all then these networks need to recognize who I am across every one.

Another way how they're not speaking with each other: rich multimedia. I often post messages in Facebook that I've already shared in Twitter simply because links don't expand to show an image with a blurb like they do natively in Facebook. Facebook is all about the experience. If I see an update with some words and just a plain link I'm most likely going to ‘next' it. No, in fact I AM going to ‘next' it.

Eventually I see one thing happening. The social web will become more of a web. You, your identity and your relationships and how they translate & relate will move to front and center. Social networks will feel more like channels that you can change to see what's playing on another one. I could be wrong but I already am seeing more and more cross network chatter. It's only a matter of time before this issue comes to a head.

Link to original post

Comments

charlpearce
Posted on April 2nd 2010 at 7:40PM

While I rarely share the same message across different platforms, (I usually tailor my message for each platform/audience), I do have the need to be more efficient in managing my communities.  Location Based Services are now adding to the need for efficiency.  It seems the more new tools/platforms/features that are introduced, the less efficient I become as they are all disconnected.  I would love to see more creators think about 'connection' and 'consumers ease of use' before they launch a new idea.  If anything, their features that provides platform/community connection might be the main value for their product.

I love this statement and completely agree:

"Social networks will feel more like channels that you can change to see what’s playing on another one"

Thanks for sharing, Damien!

justinerae
Posted on April 3rd 2010 at 10:22AM
Social Network is like business. Obviously its a matter of money making, the more people visit a site like facebook, myspace or twitter they get a revenue on it by advertising. They need to compete on each other to keep their business alive. Thats how social network works nowadays, if your services is not good they will transfer to another like an example of friendster vs. facebook. Once many people use friendster because you can personalize your profile by changing the themes and other colorful effects but facebook offers more entertainment and more games, then friendster makes the same strategy in order to compete and to keep the flow alive.
TimNicholson1
Posted on April 3rd 2010 at 12:37PM

I agree completely. As the web turns more social, there is a huge need for you to be able to carry your identities, your friends, and your "stream" with you. We also need privacy options to go along with it, so that personal stuff is not shared with your business profile (LinkedIn) and vice versa. There are some initiatives like, activitystre.ms, OpenSocial (which MySpace, Orkut, LinkedIn, and others participate in), etc. There is much advancement needed in all this, though.

I have started a new website at http://xtremelysocial.com with the goal of connecting users to their various social networks. I have started with very deep Facebook integration because that's my social network of choice. You can of course log in with Facebook, but I've also built the capability to view all your Facebook friends, your friends news stream (wall), and your own stream (Facebook "home" page). I plan on adding connectivity with Twitter, MySpace, and others probably by using Gigya Socialize for easy connection/authentication, but its a LOT of work still in custom-coding each networks proprietary API's.

I have also written some Facebook apps, the most relevant to this discussion is My Status at http://facebook.com/xsmystatus. It lets you view and update both your Facebook and Twitter status/streams. You can also view Twitter streams for people you are following, direct messages, @mentions, and the public stream. I'm experimenting with viewing and updating Wordpress.com blogs and viewing your Google Buzz stream (no update API's released yet) as well. I plan to roll all of that into XtremelySocial.com as well.

But to your point, this is WAY TOO HARD. I'm doing this as a hobby and I have to know and use Facebook Connect, Twitter API, OpenSocial (with MySpace API extensions), etc, etc, to do this. Wouldn't it be great if there was a single API that could be used to connect, grab a user's friends, grab a user's stream, update their stream, comment and like? The social network sites won't ever build this, but someone else COULD and that would open up the social web.

Note that OpenSocial's goal IS to do exactly this and it already works with MySpace/Orkut/LinkedIn/Hi5, it just doesn't have Facebook or Twitter support and probably never will.

FarshidKetabchi
Posted on April 3rd 2010 at 8:51PM

there are integration and tools for cross posting and syndicating a post across multiple sites as pointed out. there are numerous tools that do this such as hootsuite, digsby, etc.

but in a deeper level, there is work in the area of standards for social network interoperability that has been underway for some time. pls see activity streams http://activitystrea.ms/. there are already specs for activity streams and more recently there is proposed extensions to this, action streams. the goal is to build interoperability past the status/update cross post. for example you ll be able to accept an invitation on facebook from myspace. but i am not sure of the implementation and availability timeline.