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 washingtonpost.com, 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.