Stitching together social networking

I don’t think I’m addicted to these things, but I do use social networking a fair bit.

On the microblogging front I use Twitter (mostly posting via

For the classic social networking stuff I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn.

I’m scrobbling my audio to, there is of course this blog receiving occasional posts and I’ve been on IRC for far too long. I’m also on Jabber.

I’m reasonably happy with how this is all stitched together from a publishing point of view, but how are people supposed to find each other on all of these?

Out of the networks I’m in, Facebook is probably the easiest way for you to find people since you can see who knows who and work from there, but then are you supposed to put their names into the search of every other thing you are on? Or are you supposed to tell people everything you’re on every time you add them to any of them? This is clearly stupid.

I once heard about FOAF and how it was supposed to solve all of this. Hardly anyone else seems to have heard about that.

OpenID seems promising. At least once each person has a canonical URL that identifies them, they could put some machine-readable thing on there (like FOAF) that enumerates every other social network they are in so you can see what overlaps.

So why don’t more of these services do this? Is it because the commercial ones (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, …) are scared of acknowledging the existence of Other Places To Point Your Eyeballs? Maybe the revolution could start by something like reading some FOAF from your OpenID provider to tell other users what social circles you mingle in and how they overlap with theirs?

And no I don’t yet use OpenID, because I don’t actually have a use for it yet, but if someone like did this then I would!

3 thoughts on “Stitching together social networking

  1. RSS feeds are the glue to my social network paper mache.

    On my blog I have my facebook status feed and twitter things feed on my sidebar and anyone who feels led can easily add me to either with a click of the feed!

    Personally I think Gravatar already has a good thing going because it lets you be you across a multitude of Social apps out there right now, maybe some kind of OpenID/Gravatar combined thing could glue this all together!

    1. Realistically though, very few people are going to add you on facebook, look at your info page to see your blog, then go to your blog to see everything else that you’re on. Perhaps some sort of firefox plugin is required to read the FOAF data and offer the option of friending/following the person if you haven’t already.

  2. True however, Facebook has a nifty auto import blog thing so people on Facebook see my blog and if they click the title it brings them to the site in which they see everything else.

    It’s kinda frankenstiened together but the link is there!

    Obviously a better way would be great of course. A better way for everyone not just firefox people.

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