Is it me, or is it becoming a chore to do maintain your presence on social networks?
I regularly use MySpace, Facebook, AIM Profiles, Twitter, LinkedIn, Friendster, Emurse among a few others. Why can’t all these networks get along and share my status with all my connections?
Joe Logon faced the same problem when wanting to aggregate profile statuses among different networks. In all seriousness, end users shouldn’t be using iframes or Flash-based widgets to accomplish this. It’s in the network’s best interest to provide timely updates for their users; regardless of the source, since it will drive traffic.
Andrew Shuttleworth posted a detailed map [png] on how information flows from users to social networks. As we can see, it’s difficult for a user to feasibly update all of them at once.
I vision one day when all the works agree to talk to one another. The picture below would be the result, so users don’t need to update their online status with each individual network:
I don’t necessarily mean auto aggregating the information; just make it an option, communicate it to the users and make it easy. “Easy” as in not requiring the RSS feed or tinkering with OpenIDs… just make it where users can reliably sign into another network in less than three clicks.
To prevent duplication, the networks will allow a max of 2 messages per minute. When a user changes status, they will opt-in to broadcasting it to extended networks. (Opting out is a hassle, learn from Facebook.) Users would only need to authenticate their accounts once within each social network site (and then when logging into the respective social network, they would approve or deny an “extended network” request).
Sustainability? Once the big three (MySpace, Facebook, AOL/AIM) agree to share their user’s online status, their competitors will follow suit. Users want to broadcast their status, this is very sustainable.
This suggestion probably is probably something the Data Portability Group would be interested in. Perhaps, a unified “status” microformat could be created and then implemented in various social networks. Perhaps an eager startup entrepreneur wants to make something that satisfies users, social networks, and could monetize it.
On to go register with Plaxo’s Pulse, let me know if you have any ideas on how solve the problems with Social Networking Discombobulation, or aligning social network statuses with each other.