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.

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