As it happens, you start putting thoughts in a line and all of sudden a pattern emerges. Here is my pattern: social media services are showing growing signs of overlap: Facebook becoming more twitteresque, LinkediIn trying to become a little more facebookish, all impinge on the presence and messaging domains. In a previous couple of posts I tried to figure out who will survive, but what if I was able to redesign Social Media from the ground up with the user perspective in mind, would they be different?
You bet they would! At the moment the integration work is mostly done by the user: synchronizing statuses, endlessly migrating “friends” to “connections” to “followers/followed”
- peripheric applicative spokes (call them “devices”) would be connected to a central services hub via API interfaces, so that I could add new devices much in the same way I add a new printer to a computer
- central services should include:
- identity management – a true, user-oriented single sign-on
- directory services – am I the only one who felt stoopid having to rebuild on FB the contact list I had on Plaxo, which is the same as the one I have on LinkedIn. And now, Twitter (yes, Alex, that’s the friggin’ price of being a late adopter !)
- alerting – devices are lenses through which we look at the socially shared social world. I want to be free to decide which lens I’m going to use, but the landscape should be the same. It may have more/less resolution, more/less movement, more of a business focus than a personal focus, but also allow me to change my mind as I can change the lens of my camera and turn it from a portrait machine into a superzoom
- and – perhaps – could be encrypted on a USB key I can take from a computer to an Internet Café terminal without having to worry about forgeries and phishing. You protect the key et voila
- all UGC should be easily exportable (universal XML, anyone?) so that I could roam from one service to a competing one without having to rebuild my story every time. It’s MY stuff, not theirs ! A little like when I change jobs, my PC might remain with my employer, but not so what’s in my brain.
I can well see how the 800-pound gorilla of Facebook wouldn’t want to give away its headstart, so none of this stands much of a chance, but removing barriers to adoption would ultimately benefit ALL “devices”; and since none of these people would trust anyone else, it looks like the only possible solution is an OpenID on steroids or some form of open standards effort.