The Future of Social Networking

Submitted on Jun 18, 2008, 4:38 p.m.

UPDATE: Sun Tests Social Networking Toolkit

If I could design the future of social networking it would look like this...

I'd have a platform... some kind of service or software platform, from within which I could blog, twitter, chat and link to the people I know. I'd be able to choose exactly what information I wished to publish and when, and whether that information was published to just my friends, or to the world.

I'd be able to host the platform anywhere I choose. I could pay for it, or it might be free. If I paid for it - I'd want total control over where and how any advertising was allowed from within or outside the platform.

Imagine taking the best of LinkedIn, a decent blogging engine, something twitterish, a good chat client, a good media sharing platform for photos and videos. Add a pinch of social bookmarking - and wrapping all of that up into a very cool platform that I can use to represent me and those I choose to interact with in the online world. A sort of Bittorrent-ish, Groove-ish application for society. Goodbye MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Skype, goodbye to all of the walled garden social networking sites - and hello to my own little neighborhood in cyberspace.

The end of walled gardens like Facebook and other social networking sites is actively being discussed. What's missing is the glue in standards and software to bring together an alternative. The big guys like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo want to try and grab on to this and hold on to it for its obvious potential in targeted marketing and advertising revenue.

I hope that doesn't happen. I hope we're each able to grab on to it, to control it and to use it to build new communities and socially meaningful ways of communicating with the world.