Monday, May 12, 2008

Social Everywhere

This story is short. Facebook, MySpace and others want their social to be everywhere, similar to how Google's search is everywhere. This is a three step process unfolding in front of all of us:

1. Open API where applications can be added to a social network. Facebook clearly had an early lead on this front, open social is trying to offer similar functionality, but with promises of a broader community.

2. Open Identity (Profile) to broaden attach rate of a social network. MySpace and Facebook made major announcements in this area last week, and Google and Open Social are expected to make announcements this week. They are promoting the use of your user profile on many sites. They will make it easy for any website to add the ability to bring your friends to that page. Developers will be able to associate a local profile to a users social identity on any particular social network. With this you can bring social interactions to your website.

3. Open Network to broaden your users into a larger social network. This is the likely next step. The social networks will allow sites to push their social information out. They will provide a set of integrations which allow you to enable your users to travel within their social graph. For example your website will be able to register a FEED or NOTIFICATION api, so if two users interact within Facebook as it relates to your site, Facebook will send out the viral message to your back end, and you can operate on that notification.

While the social media networks are currently at step two of their strategy it is becoming clear that the ability to use social technology for a website, a community or even software system will become very powerful and possibly transform the web. No one is saying rewrite your application to be a social application, that would be a mistake. However the transformation of social context becoming part of how we think of building sites, communities and applications is going to cycle through the development process over the next three years.

Ringside was built on the premise that social networking would become pervasive, each of the social media networks would gain market share, and that every site would need to consider its strategy around social networking. It's a lot of fun to be part of this time, hopefully to enjoy working as the platform which helps integrate the social context from social media networks to the value you need to deliver in your business.

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