The “Social” Gets More Social

Oh me oh my. So much to write about today and not enough time or space. So, for now, I am going to limit my rantings to updating my earlier blog about LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook and the social networking phenomenon.

Google has just announced plans to implement a service called “Friend Connect” to permit people to employ applications from their usual social networking haunts, like Facebook or Plaxo, while visiting other sites and, ultimately, across the Web. This announcement is hot on the heels of similar announcements by Facebook and MySpace pledging to permit members to utilize their personal profiles and applications on other websites. Google’s Director of Engineering David Glazer indicates that “[a]t the heart of Google’s service is the use of Open Social which will allow third parties to build and develop applications for the site.” Thus, by using Friend Connect, any website owner should be able to add code to his or her site to get a social interface feature without complicated programming. The former “walled garden” approach of the social networking sites, which encouraged interaction only between members of the individual sites, is crumbling and making way for a new social order permitting “socializing” across websites and the entire Internet. As David Glazer adds: “[s]ocial networking is going mainstream. It used to be proprietary, but now it’s going to be open and baked into the infrastructure of the net, not just one site or one source,…”

Damn straight its getting mainstream. Just check out who is maintaining a presence on the big three. Even hackers, the “ethical” ones anyway, have their very own social network, called, what else, House of Hackers.  For an up and coming social networking site that combines wiki’s with passionate discourse under “niche” communities, check out Wetpaint. And here is a top ten list of social networking sites for women. Ladies only, please!

But all is not an electronic bed of roses for the users of social networking sites. For a cautionary message with a legal bent aimed at social networking site users, check out this video at Findlaw.com. In the same vein as those oft-repeated warnings to business users to avoid including anything on these sites that one may not want a prospective employer or client to view, the applicable laws mandate that site users employ the same precautions against defamatory and/or infringing material generally applicable to traditional media in connection with on-line postings. These common sense limitations aside, however, the clear direction of the Internet and the Web 2.0 revolution is the organizing, simplifying and socializing of the vast information repository that has grown in the cyberspace soil. Wallflowers, beware. The future is NOW!

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