Arthur Messal, Software Architect at Ionic Media
A true social network is defined by its members, not its medium. In an effort to improve the effectiveness and success of the widely hyped social components in new (and old) technologies the medium must become less coupled to singular disjoint social networks. Simply put, having separate logins, data feeds, messaging systems, friends lists, etc, is not effective and causes frustration, requires the user to duplicate efforts, and prevents larger social networks from forming.
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, Flickr, and many other websites and companies all offer a similar service – a potential social network, and a portal into that network. However, there is very little cross network interaction. It takes special tools and setup to simply have a tweet displayed as a status update on Facebook, much less for a comment on a Facebook post about a blog entry to be displayed on the actual blog. There are many social networks, and little bringing the people in these various networks together.
To solve this problem, I propose the Open Social Identity. The OSI is your entire social identity: your profile, friend lists, status updates, posts, pictures, messages, events, calenders, etc. The OSI exists separate from what we currently call a social network. Instead of defining and storing your identity, current social networks must become social network portals, into your online social life. Portals will offer different services and features, much like they do currently; however, they must each support the OSI. Some illustrations to demonstrate the concept.
- A Facebook status update is intrinsically a status update on LinkedIn, MySpace, and becomes a Tweet.
- A comment of a picture in Twitter is also viewable as part of the comments for the same picture on Facebook.
- Adding to your job history on LinkedIn results in a change in your profile on Google Profiles.
- Comments on a TypePad blog entry are shown with posts of that article on Facebook.
- An Evite gets added to your iCal, Google Calendar, and is viewable in Facebook, automatically.
Of course, everything is customizable and configurable so that you can control who sees what and where, but regardless, 100% of your Social Identity is in a single place and owned by you.
The OSI represents a standardization of the data models that social networking sites use. In following articles I will discuss the advantages of this model, and some of the finer details.
As a teaser, consider integration with your mobile phone’s phone book, an address book that you no longer need to manage, using your OSI as a OpenID to login to non-social sites, the ability to monetize your OSI, and more!
Read all of Arthur’s blogs at www.volveblog.com.