At work I’m building a custom vertical social network. It’s interesting work, and so I’ve been following some of the stuff about how social networks need to become “open”
I had a half-written post about how an “open” social network means such different things to different people that it is pretty much meaningless. Dare says it much better, than I could.
I still think someone needs to point out what a crap article the Wired piece “Slap in the Facebook: It’s Time for Social Networks to Open Up” is.
They spend a long time listing different web tools you can use to build some kind of nice looking website, and then miss the “social network” bit of building a social network.
A social network isn’t about a stupid frigging BLOG (yes, I’m quite aware of the irony of saying that on a blog). It’s about the personal interactions and relationships the software enables. Go and listen to some of the Danah Boyd podcasts recorded at the education.au seminars – you’ll note she talks about the social pressures of how to order your friends lists, how bands on MySpace are identity markers and how the “wall” is useful as a publicly witnessed space. There’s nothing in about blogging or social bookmarking or group calendaring – as useful as those things may be.
So anyway – the social network I’m building is going to be as open as I can make it – but it’s MY definition of open. Specifically, it’s going to make it as easy as possible to use external applications like blogs, and yet still tie them into your identity on the system. That sounds pretty obvious of course, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong.
Hmm.. I seem to be discussing work projects on here a lot more than I used to.. not sure what that means.