Let a hundred Facebooks bloom

by Mathew on August 17, 2008 · 19 comments

Om Malik posted recently on something I’ve been thinking about a lot: namely, the tension between one-size-fits-all social networks such as Facebook and a more personalized approach using blogs and tools such as Moveable Type and WordPress, both of which have been adding more social features (including WP’s purchase of Buddypress). Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital also posted on this topic, and said that an interest in more social blogging tools is why he invested in Tumblr, and as Om points out, Chris Messina and a group of other developers have also been working on a broader standard for such things through what they are calling the “DiSo” or distributed social project.

Blogging isn’t for everyone, obviously. There will always be those who prefer to use Facebook-style networks — or even Marc Andreessen’s Ning.com — because of their simplicity, and hopefully those networks will be able to “federate” or share information with blogs and blog-based social networks, using OpenID or some other similar standard. For those who want more control over their online data and destiny, however (a group I would like to think is increasing), I think blogs and blog-based tools are the best route, and could be a lot more flexible than any other option given the plug-in friendly nature of WordPress.

There’s also a lot of potential for integrating blogs with tools like Twitter (or Jaiku or Pownce), as well as Friendfeed and others. Om has some interesting things going on along those lines, some of which he announced at the Wordcamp conference this weekend — including a Twitter-feed style micro-blog called GigaOm Daily (more on that here) and a development effort at dev.gigaom.com, where he and the GigaOm team are planning to release something called Gigalogue. According to the description, it is “inspired by” Prologue, a WordPress theme that turns the blog publishing platform into a kind of group Twitter micro-blog, and there are some more details about it here.

  • http://joeduck.wordpress.com Anonymous

    Thx for the Prologue tip – that sounds promising. I wish everybody would blog, but we’ll never even see 1/100 doing so. However almost everybody will do some form of messaging like IM or Twitter or Facebook or any of the thousands of options, and we need a way to converge that data into coherent forms that are not constrained by applications.

    Two new challenges I’m noticing at Twitter are people dramatically reducing their blogging and the info overload if you try to follow more than a few hundred people. Soon will we need to tag our contacts as “friends who say interesting stuff” and “friends who don’t” ??

  • http://sidsavara.com Sid Savara

    I saw an interesting product called TweetDeck (no affiliation with me, and I just saw someone using it, I never used it) that basically aims to let you group friends in whatever way you want, and builds a little searchable database on your computer of those tweets. Facebook also has some level of filtering, but I think it’s terrible – it seems no matter what I tell it it is totally random.

    I do like having different networks (just as we have different groups we interact with IRL), but I dislike having to log in everywhere. I don’t know what a good solution is, but I’d like to be able to log into one place and manage all my networks. I tried FriendFeed out, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for in that regard.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Well, I figure everyone has at least one or two interesting things to
    say :-) There just need to be more ways for people to say them and
    have others hear them. And more ways of tying those different ways

  • http://joeduck.wordpress.com JoeDuck

    I had two very interesting things to say on Twitter ….this, and … whoops… I have forgotten the second one.

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    I think facebook is a little more organzied than myspace with less spam and relates to older people better.

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    hackers are using facebook to trick users into releasing their emails and other important information not to mention all the spamming.

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    Thanks, I've been looking for a step-by-step guide for upgrading wordpress on GoDaddy for quite some time now.

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  • http://www.mikepost.nl/ Mike Post

    Great article, man. Keep up the good work and please do keep sharing.

    Thanks in advance!


  • http://www.mydigitalphotopictureframes.com/ Digital Photo Frames

    Facebook is taking over!

  • http://www.mashtoday.com Lucy

    For some people twitter is important, to share their life, you should respect this…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=8649725 Joseph Hunkins

    Lucy I was (sort of ) just kidding. I love Twitter and I'm there a lot, though it's a mistake to think that the content there is profound. It's usually not very deep at all because we are pretty simply little creatures who value socializing above thoughtful reflection. I worry that social media is at the same time opening up new horizons while it inclines us to interact even more superficially than before.

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