A discussion I just had with David Levy got me thinking about how various social networking channels are working and not working for me and others. It seems like various social networking channels are finding their place, based on capabilities, usage, integration and push versus pull issues.
Twitter is somewhat filling the social void felt by excessive work from home. I rarely see colleagues face to face, and don’t talk to them on the phone much. It has an unintended side-effect though. It appears to be growing my social network in unforeseen directions. I’m definitely making connections with people I would never see or talk to in real life, at least on an extended basis.
The main things that Twitter presents that are technically somewhat different from IRC are a pretty good web interface, a published web API, a number of client software options, and out-of-the box integration with cell-phone and traditional IM (e.g AOL Instant Messenger). I believe it also enjoys a rather active and growing developer community. I think Twitter is shaping up to be the Internet message bus, if it can stand the load and we can work within its pesky functional limitations.
Twitter is also the only “push” technology in the social networking space, and what gets pushed in front of me has been filtered by my choice of who to allow. This is good.
Two-way integration and DRY concerns (”Don’t Repeat Yourself”) are the crux of most complaints about any of the social networking technologies. Who wants to update Facebook, Twitter and their blog? Facebook is clearly an endpoint, and for this serious flaw, it risks eventual death. For blogging, there is a “hotel California” mentality about the interfaces, despite the ubiquitous provision of RSS: why can’t I manage multiple blog personae from a single source of truth with rules for feeding the right blog with the right content?
When you are a hammer, everything is a nail, so my perspective is coerced by my background. I understand message bus architectures. The integration issues for social networking applications are in three parts: transport, rules and transformation. If Twitter is the transport engine, where are the rules and transformation services?blogging, facebook, social computing, social networking, twitter, web 2.0