Open Integration is the Future of Social Networking

Myspace Offers Facebook Connect

If you haven’t noticed, virtually any social media service that hopes to survive invariably has to integrate with the big players (Facebook chief among them).  Nearly a year ago, MySpace succumbed to the pressure and permitted some limited integration with Facebook; this month they enabled Facebook Connect (allowing its users to log in with their Facebook credentials).

Seamless integration is increasingly central to social networking platforms, and there are any number of tools from Digsby to Hootsuite to TweetDeck allow users to seamlessly manage their disparate social media presences.  This is a leap from the olden days of social media when your profile and content were locked into a proprietary database and leaving meant starting over from scratch, clumsily cutting and pasting text and re-uploading photos and video into a new site (I remember that mind-numbing process going from CollegeClub to MySpace).

As the tools that enable integration continue to improve, how will social networking platforms retain their users?  That is to say: when your identity is completely portable and you can manage it how you choose, jumping from platform to platform with little difficulty, why would you tie yourself down to any one service that might limit your capabilities?  Whatever happens – the end user will be the winner (as they’ll be able to hold the threat of leaving over any platform to demand better treatment).

It would be great to see what social networking sites could do sharing data and working on concert as opposed to competition.

2 thoughts on “Open Integration is the Future of Social Networking

  1. nfinkbeiner says:

    Do you think the integration of platforms will cause the unique language/style of each social media platform to disappear? It seems already Facebook and Twitter language is starting to converge and most of the posts on LinkedIn now seem to be originally written for Twitter.


    1. Derek DeVries says:

      A fascinating question. It could, but there are a couple of reasons I think it won’t.

      First, people seem to instinctively want to carve out ‘tribal’ spaces for themselves and resist the pressure to standardize and conform so even if the integration makes it possible they’ll reject it (many of the long-standing forums that pre-date Facebook are still around and thriving in spite of the fact that Facebook is “better” for communicating).

      Second, I think the same algorithms that allow us to standardize will continue to increase in sophistication to the point where they’ll be able to take a piece of communication from us and after analysis (of the message itself, the context, and our disparate audiences/networks) customize it for each audience (or even each person) we’re connected with.

      So taking the Linkedin/Twitter example, I might want to communicate something about something I’m doing and the social networking platform I use to broadcast it could automatically apply its understanding of Linkedin (and how I use each of them differently – not to mention the various constraints/differences of the two services) and tweak the message for me to improve their relevance for the audience(s).


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