Posts this weekend by Loic Le Meur and Michael Arrington have stirred up discussion about the emerging ecosystem of the Social Web that is the central topic of TheRealMcCrea blog. Indeed, we, too, believe that the landscape is shifting rapidly, and that the walls are coming down.
What will happen next?
For one, aggregators like FriendFeed and others, will emerge all over the place, as the barrier to creating one falls to nothing. Indeed, each week we hear of a new one.
Next, the building blocks for the Social Web will be completely assembled. Most are now already out there: OpenID, Oauth, microformats, OpenSocial, and the Social Graph API. Together, these enable the “centralized me” discussed by Loic and Michael, as well as application portability, and to some extent, data portability (microformats allowing machine readability). But the last block or two missing is that which liberates the social graph data and makes it portable (under the control of the user). Keep you eyes on that space…and prepare for an exciting 2008.
And to see a real live example of a “centralized me” brought to life via aggregration, see my public profile page on Plaxo. How was it created? Plaxo implemented support for Google’s Social Graph API, which traverses the publicly asserted linkages people make out on the web about themselves. This “rel=me” allows an application, like Pulse, to present to a user a menu of items discovered about that person out on the public web. The user, me in this case, can pick and choose which pieces to associate with my Plaxo account, and whether and how to share each feed through the Pulse aggregation and sharing system. Some feed I choose to share only with family or only with friends — or even only with a specific group of people. Others, I wish to project publicly, and these form the living foundation of my public profile.
If all of this sounds interesting to you, but you’re interested in more depth, I would suggest diving inside the heads of folks like Joseph Smarr of Plaxo and Marc Canter (who needs no introduction). They are the primary co-authors of the Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web.