Doomed?

I use this blog to promote technology within MPOW but this article annoyed me: MySpace, SecondLife, and Twitter Are Doomed. When I first read it, I came away with an impression of schadenfreude on the part of the author. I let the article sit for a couple of days and re-read it and am still annoyed by the tone.

Sure there are problems with Myspace, SecondLife, and Twitter. I’ve pretty much abandoned MySpace for Facebook because there is a growing librarian community there and I gain value from using it. Until I learned how to tweak my profile in MySpace, I was bombarded with messages from young women who wanted to be my friend and, by the way, please look at these photos of me. SecondLife is slow and kludgey but it has put me in contact with more people than would otherwise be possible. I’m not sure how I could have participated in a book discussion led by a British physics professor who was in Brazil and attended by people from around the world. Twitter? Well, I don’t get the appeal there either but it doesn’t bother me that it exists.

The author is quite correct in pointing out that there are problems with these social applications and that they may/will eventually disappear. I say, “So what.” All of the social networking applications are evolutionary steps. Some will work, some won’t. I believe that there are people looking at these applications and thinking, “OK, the concept is interesting but I bet I can make it better, faster, stronger and maybe I can combine the best elements of several into a new approach for social networking.” You have to have a foundation to build anything and the current crop of social networking applications are a foundation for future applications.

Sure the press hypes these applications but again, so what. Hype is what lets people know something exists. Hype is what might get a developer interested in looking for ways to improve on a concept or develop a new approach for these social networking applications. Look at what is happening in Facebook. It is becoming a platform where new third party applications are being built daily. You can add your Twitter, Flickr, Google Reader accounts, etc., effectively making Facebook the first application you want to open in the morning.

The author concludes, ironically – Till the next “Big Thing.” I say “Cool, I can’t wait to see what comes along.”

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3 Comments on “Doomed?”

  1. Gene Roche Says:

    It’s interesting that you’ve singled out Facebook as a possible platform that will address many of the limitations of existing social software. I’m still searching for a combination of tools that would allow Facebook to be a replacement for a typical RSS reader. I’ll be interested to learning more about how you incorporate the proliferation of new tools in Facebook.

    Look at what is happening in Facebook. It is becoming a platform where new third party applications are being built daily. You can add your Twitter, Flickr, Google Reader accounts, etc., effectively making Facebook the first application you want to open in the morning.

  2. Mack Says:

    I confess I singled out Facebook because I had just been adding some applications. I was thinking it was pretty neat that people are finding so many ways to hook to Facebook. Consider the Swem Tools that Wayne and Phil created. Also, there are people who have at least 3 email address but with whom I correspond through Facebook. Not sure why but there you go. You’re right that Facebook isn’t a replacement for an RSS reader which is why iGoggle is my “bring up first thing in the morning” web app.

    Have you added the Google Reader Shared Items application Facebook? It is nifty. If share an interesting article in your Google reader you can see who else shares that article.

    Now that Facebook is being invaded by professionals (i.e. not students) I am interested to see if professionals become a target audience.

  3. Wayne Graham Says:

    Gene

    Are you looking for an aggregator or a reader? There’s was an application (http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?api_key=d8e680bec88a2e45ae873ea1105a37bd) that allowed you to aggregate your RSS feeds. They stopped developing it, but it looked like it had quite a bit of “real world” application other than addressing “hang-out” time.

    Also, Facebook just put out a request for academic applications. With some work on a separate project (vufind), I was going to start playing with an application that has the entire catalog sitting inside of Facebook. If you can think of any apps you’d like to have created, I’m trying to put some apps together for a forthcoming book.


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