social networks are walled gardens

The continuing success of Facebook cannot be ignored and it will continue to have mass user adoption at a consumer level for many months, even years, to come. As I mentioned in another post, BooksOnCampus is a website that requires you to login before being able to access the site.
walled garden
When Facebook starts using this identity system as a widget the potential will be for it to become what Microsoft Passport never was. For further insights into Facebook be sure to check out the Inside Facebook blog.

The implication is that Facebook could eclipse OpenID adoption and become the online identity solution. There’s just one problem…currently Google can’t search inside Facebook.

Facebook = Blackhole, Whirlpool, Vortex.

Facebook is a closed garden with one way doors. Data in, but no data out. It’s true that Facebook have opened up their API to developers, but none of the content produced within Facebook’s pages can get out and be indexed or referenced by another company or social network. With so many companies, startups, ecommerce companies building widgets for this platform did anyone stop to consider that they’re not letting data flow out? Matt Dickman agrees, watch his video. Here’s what we should be concerned about:

1) My non-Facebook friends can’t see what I’m doing. If I link to Facebook, you have to register and sign up. That sucks.

2) After I’ve setup my profile, I should have the ability to make my profile public and let folks see the elements I want.

3) What about my network? data? Profile? I want to export those. (Same thing to LinkedIn). The rolodex of today has an important field “friends”. I want to be able to export my network to other systems and applications.

4) As far as I know Facebook doesn’t have RSS…

Facebook (and whichever network follows suit) has a huge opportunity to not just be an application platform, but to be a true identity system for the entire network. Before we start jumping up and down, giving Facebook all of our data, and building our company widgets in Facebook should we first think about whether this is a black hole?

The smaller, more niche social networks or services such as Plaxo and others are building as open a platform as possible, enabling import, export and inter-change across the entire internet and enabling any search engine to find the content you’ve chosen to make public…will the long tail of competitors to Facebook eventually provide a better system to Facebook’s?


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