Open Facebook

Wired makes a call for open standards in social networking sites. I’ve heard this complaint in several places, and think it’s a valid one. It’s annoying that our social netorking “identities” are walled off. Take me for example… I have accounts with LinkedIn, Facebook, Internet Time, Eduspaces, MySpace, Friendster, and countless other social networking startups whose tires I kicked for a few days. Each time I create one of these accounts, I have to recreate my network. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could see all of my facebook contacts when logged in to linkedin?

Here’s a couple money quotes:

“They’re all good, but they’d be better if they worked together. The iPhone would be better if it could also be used on Verizon’s and Sprint’s networks, and Facebook would be better if you could link to friends’ pages on MySpace and Bebo. Social networking should be based on open standards, just like e-mail. “

“We would like to place an open call to the web-programming community to solve this problem. We need a new framework based on open standards. Think of it as a structure that links individual sites and makes explicit social relationships, a way of defining micro social networks within the larger network of the web. “

There are people who see Facebook as more of a “gated community” (as some would call it) than a closed network. However, you could still have an exclusive “members-only” network, while still having the ability to share your information with outsiders.

So, we’ll just have to keep waiting until open standards are developed for these sites. Until then, we could all replace Facebook using open social tools. It’s a temporary fix, at least.

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