OpenSocial ain’t all that, but Pluck has some interesting ideas

After doing some research, I realized there was a major flaw in my previous post regarding the potential of OpenSocial – the new standard will not allow member data to move between the various participating social networks. For now, the gardens will remain walled. Cattle? Safe!

So what this means is that if you build an app, you can plug it into any social network that participates in the OpenSocial standards, but not across multiple participating social networks.

Not all is lost though – social networking plaform Pluck is jumping into the concept to link the networks they power with larger social networks, giving them a presence on the aggregator sites like Facebook and MySpace in exchange for feeding handy links and info into users’ profiles.

Jim Brady, executive editor of, runs his site on Pluck and said in a recent Reuter’s article that “We’re not trying to be Facebook or MySpace. By giving ourselves a hook into the bigger social networks, it allows us to get more pollination.”

I think this is the future of social media – as it becomes cheaper to build social media experiences and users become aware that a site tailored to their interest and populated by other, like-minded people are far better than being poked or drowned in “friend” spam, we’ll see a spoke-and-hubs model evolve where users have a primary presense on a generic social media clearinghouse and one or more identities on smaller niche social networks. Until now, widgets were the best tool for linking these sites, but OpenSocial and OpenID are far more abstracted and powerful tools for handing data back and forth between social networks.

Computerworld has more news on Pluck’s recent OpenSocial announcement.


  1. 1. I find your post interesting because I had no idea that Pluck has become a social media platform.

    I know of Pluck a long time ago circa 2004 when they are still a research tool plugged into the browser to allow you to mash stuff together and save tidbits of the web.

    Looking at their site now, it appears that they are really turning into something else, which means that I really ought to explore more.

    2. I believe that the potential for OpenSocial is really about linking networks together to create bigger things. the #1 thing re:same api for me is that it would be much easier to create visualization tools to examine the contacts.

    I am most interested in browsing my contacts on all my social network into a gigantic cloud of metacontacts.

    I am interested to see where I can find people who might be interested in developing it. Mainly, I wanna get something together (I have an idea) but zero resources (and thus actual experience) to put something together. What would you suggest? Sourceforge? Is it possible to get ideas and sketches together with no coder? curious..


  2. 1. Yep, Pluck is doing some interesting things. They still seem to be mostly a blog and message board platform, but their product is solid, so it’s a good springboard into new things. I suspect they have a good dev team and eyes forward, so I expect more great things from them.

    2. Yeah, that could be very interesting. There’s a bubble on, so if you can create hype around a good idea I imagine you could find developers, especially if you can mock up your concept in a compelling way. SF might be a good starting point, and I’d also consider hitting up info design communities’ message boards and take a look at the comments getting posted on Google’s OpenSocial blog and other areas where OpenSocial is being discussed.

  3. “Until now, widgets were the best tool for linking these sites, but OpenSocial and OpenID are far more abstracted and powerful tools for handing data back and forth between social networks.”

    you’re no longer ga-ga for widgets! 🙂

  4. If all OpenSocial does is allow developers to port their applications more easily from one social network to another, that’s a big win for the developer, as they get to shop their application to users of every participating social network. But it provides little incremental value to the user, the real target. We don’t want to have the same application on multiple social networks. We want applications that can use data from multiple social networks.

Comments are closed.