Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is Social Media in Need of Standards?

Imagine that we had three or more phone companies in the country, and that to talk to friends who subscribed to one of them, you needed to own a phone designed to work with their network, and they all worked differently.  Yeccch!  Imagine that to get good national coverage your phone actually needed to speak six or seven different protocols but still presented you with the same interface.  Still pretty yucky, but at least as far as you are concerned, it works (in fact, that is how mobile phones work).

At least on the platform side, it's a bit frustrating.  If you've ever been part of an e-mail discussion across two (or more) mailing lists where one or the other half of the list doesn't have access, it can be quite difficult to follow the full conversation.

The same is true across Twitter, Linked In, FaceBook and now Google+.  I have four (or five or six, depending on how you count them) different social media accounts (yes, I finally got into Google+ last night when they opened it up again).

Apps help.  At least with TweetDeck I can follow conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn, and with FlipBoard, FaceBook, Twitter and Google Reader.  I've also been able to cross link my Twitter posts to Google Buzz, Linked In and FaceBook.  And with TwitterFeed and Google's FeedBurner I can link blog postings to Twitter (and thence everywhere else twitter is connected).

But right now it's a hodge-podge of sticks, twine and duct tape that I'm using to glue all of this together.

There isn't yet one application that lets me follow and interact with the entire social media stream, though I expect that will happen soon (just like my cell phone today lets be talk through 3G, GSM, and CDMA networks)

As for standards, it really isn't hard.  Just give me an RSS feed to each, and allow each to be populated through an RSS or Atom feed.  Then let me pick the application that organizes things the way I want, and I'd be really happy.  Given the state of competition right now, it probably won't happen anytime soon, and it will be up to App developers to create more duct tape.

Speaking of duct tape, anyone have a good app to post from Twitter to Google Plus?



  1. If I ever wanted to retard social media, I'd form 2 competing organizations with several committees to standardize it piece-by-piece.

  2. Don't have an app to post from twitter to Google+, but this should help you post from G+ to twitter:

    I haven't tried it, but if you set up an email you could add it to your circles.

  3. Interesting. There are standards: XMPP RFC-6120-6122, or the older IRC RFC 2812-2813 for anything real time. But why use something already standardized and implemented when you can re-invent the wheel again. Especially if ignoring standards gives you platform or vendor lock-in

  4. Came across this today - you may be interested... A Standards-based, Open and Privacy-aware Social Web -

  5. Great, now I am probably going to start getting "friended" by World of Warcraft characters.