Lately I’ve been writing about distributed networks, let’s face it we all use different services as no one service does it best, and your friends may be using different services than you which at the moment aren’t not connected for communication and flow.
So far I have talked about the blogosphere as a distributed network, centralising the different networks you and your friends use into one interoperable flow, and Where is the real Google Reader social network?
In my Google Reader post Udi from FeedEachOther (FEO) alluded to my desire to join FEO as I’m forever talking about how it’s the future of RSS Readers.
RSS Readers and blogs are the wisdom of crowds approach or social delivery from the word go, a blogger may write original content, but they also read stuff and link to it in their blog posts…so you are subscribing to the bloggers thoughts and perhaps responses to other bloggers thoughts, but you are also getting links to other sites filtered through these bloggers, they are your social filter for the web.
Not only are all these blogs of interest filtering the web for you, but you can read them in your RSS Reader, kind of like your “come to me web” reader.
Now Google Reader is trying to further this social game, but FEO has already gone the whole way. The problem for me is that the RSS Reader comes first for personal reasons, and the social bit comes second. I use Google Reader because it’s fast and has great reading and organising features, I think it will slowly get there with networking features and story clustering (memetracking)…I live in my RSS Reader so I have to feel comfortable as it’s my home. Moving your stuff to another reader is no hassle via OPML export, but the hassle may be to set up your folders again…and also Google Reader kind of has you locked in if you publish your Shared Items page.
Anyway, I don’t think the answer lives in one RSS Reader, I think it is about an interoperable RSS Reader ecosystem. Once, some how we get to organise the universal buddy list, maybe using openID, and XFN then we can plug this into our RSS Readers, perhaps a 3rd party sidebar plugin.
If I use Google Reader and see an article my friend likes I will just drag that article to her name in my buddy list (sidebar plugin). This friend may use Bloglines, but I don’t even need to know, all I do is click on her name and the article will be deposited into her RSS Reader.
It would be great if the plugin also had access to the buddy list underneath each item in your RSS Reader.
I suppose the great issue is to set the standard and then get all the services to adopt it, but 2008 seems to be the movement for dataportability and OpenSocial, so let’s hope.
What do we want connected:
- the blogosphere as a social network
- blog comments network
- various social networks (eg. message a friend from Facebook to MySpace)
- widget platform
- RSS Reader network
- presence network
Basically we need standards to be adopted and some sort of web operating system, full stop.