A Tech-Econ Mashup with a Libertarian Flavor

Facebook Allows Developers to Access User’s “Streams”

Facebook announced today their new “Open Stream API,” which will allow 3rd-party developers access to users’ “data streams” (i.e. status updates, posted links, pics, wall posts, and anything else that could show up on a user’s Wall). Privacy advocates, take heart:

Users will maintain control of their data privacy, [platform designer Dave] Morin noted, and applications will be able to access streams only with individual users’ permission — largely the way Facebook’s current on-site application system works. The data harvested by new applications will be subject to the same privacy strictures as any other data on Facebook: Even if it’s on other websites, it will still be visible only by your friends, not the public at large.

Facebook is taking a step closer to what I suggested right here last week, in opening up and allowing other networks and developers to more easily interface with users’ profiles and data (I love when I’m on the right track without even realizing it). Facebook is on track to becoming a ubiquitous technology – imagine if ten years from now, people refer to all online social networking activity as “facebooking” (similar to how performing an online search is commonly called “googling,” something Google has been fighting for some time).

Now, if only Zuckerberg & Co. would end this senseless “Twitterization” of facebook’s appearance, there’d be no stopping them.

In related news, MySpace has hired Owen Van Natta, a former facebook executive, as its new CEO (does this mean Tom is no longer my friend?). My $0.02: cleaning up the MySpace cesspool and turning it back into a company that anybody will take seriously is one of the most difficult jobs a web entrepreneur could have.


Filed under: Information Tech, Internet, Tech Biz, , ,

How to Improve Social Networking

OpenID is onto something.

Apart from Facebook, neglected LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and some bookmarks, I haven’t embraced social networking to the fullest because I don’t want to bother with 75 different accounts, profiles, usernames, etc. I’m already keeping track of about 4 different identities (or “brands” as those so-called “new media gurus” would call it) across the internet that I’ve created over the years, and I’m not looking to add more complexity to my life at the moment.

An example of how to properly incorporate social networking into your business: Netflix now allows users to interface their accounts with their facebook profiles, so that any film that a user rates on Netflix will show up as a little blurb in their facebook feed (typically a short line reading “Libby rated Swingers 3 out of 5 stars”). Admittedly, the only useful purpose for this is that I can now broadcast my taste in film to my facebook friends, but it’s a heck of a lot easier than maintaining a Netflix account for my movie rentals, PLUS rating everything I’ve seen on facebook’s Flixter app. My life is now a wee bit simpler.

I feel like facebook has an opportunity to become a huge internet launch pad for people, the biggest thing since Google. Imagine if, instead of every niche social community each starting up its own separate social networking website, they instead were able to build off of facebook’s? I’m not talking about setting up a “fan page” (who really ever reads those updates, anyway?). Think of how easy it could be to set up a new social network if users could just login to these new separate, smaller networks with their facebook profiles, similar to how I can leave comments on my friends’ Blogspot blogs with my WordPress ID. Again, life is made simpler.

Does anybody have more examples of integrated social networks?


Afterthought: at some point in the last couple years, it seems like we’ve begun moving away from the old wisdom of never putting our personal information online, towards making our personal information freely available, even so far as using our real names as our cyber-identifiers. Thoughts?

Filed under: Information Tech, Internet, Tech Biz, , , , ,


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