In a phrase that will deservedly pass almost instantaneously to meme-hood, Jason Kottke says “Facebook is the new AOL.” Facebook has persuaded lots of Web services and sites to build applications on its platform, but the proprietary, walled-garden approach will ultimately grow tiresome:
As it happens, we already have a platform on which anyone can communicate and collaborate with anyone else, individuals and companies can develop applications which can interoperate with one another through open and freely available tools, protocols, and interfaces. It’s called the internet…
Kottke points his post back to an observation by Meetup’s Scott Heiferman about the AOL/Facebook parallel. But I also caught echoes of Jon Udell’s post back in February about “social network fatigue”:
Recently Gary McGraw echoed Ben Smith’s 1991 observation. “People keep asking me to join the LinkedIn network,” he said, “but I’m already part of a network, it’s called the Internet.”
Dave Winer has been writing lately as well about social-network overload and the usefulness of arriving at a single, interoperable standard for identity:
Marc Canter and many other people think I’m full of it when I say the right number of identity systems for each user is 1. But I am right. And I know it…Here’s a hint. How many email systems do you use? RSS systems? Web systems? The correct answers are 1, 1, and 1.
This is a hugely important topic — subset of a larger one that I expect to devote some energy to writing about in the future. The common theme here is the centripetal force of the Internet. We start with services that help people do something important but simple (like: use email, build a web page, start a blog); those services fight for share by walling themselves off; eventually, the service that gets in the way least wins the most users, and those users are able to conduct their activities on the open Net.
[tags]social networking, facebook, world of ends, walled gardens, aol[/tags]
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