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Social Network Fatigue Coming? 196

mrspin offers the opinion of ZDNet blogger Steve O'Hear that users may soon tire of social networks — if they don't open up and embrace standards allowing greater interoperability among the different networks. O'Hear writes: "Unless the time required to sign-in, post to, and maintain profiles across each network is reduced, it will be impossible for most users to participate in multiple sites for very long." In an earlier post he went into more detail on the same subject, with extensive opinions from four creators of social networks. A contrary data point comes from the Apophenia blog, in a post noting the tendency among young users to create ephemeral profiles, and not to mind at all if they have to re-enter data. "Teens are not looking for universal anything; that's far too much of a burden if losing track of things is the norm." What does Slashdot think — is data portability among social networking sites a big deal or not?
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Social Network Fatigue Coming?

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  • Re:No, it's not (Score:4, Informative)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @11:19PM (#17439270)
    Google is doing similar things. Pretty soon, however, people are just going to have one account on one giant social networking site.

    Yup, Dodgeball [] (owned by Google) uses your Google Account login to authenticate you. Blogger uses the same authentication whether you are doing a comment or hosting your own blog.

    Personally, I would rather see separate accounts for everything but it's not like they can't track just about everything we do already.
  • by potat0man ( 724766 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @11:40PM (#17439432)
    I doubt any "standard" will develop among different social network sites.

    It may not have to. Imagine some software that would come pre-installed with most web hosting accounts or easily installed via c-panel a la wordpress or movabletype and people will no longer need a centralized site in order to connect in the way they seem to want to. Friends lists, message boards, picture commenting and bulletins could all easily be done with a free host and the right software []. No need to rely on a central server/company that buries you in ads or censors you []. And your less geeky friends could use it from a multitude of free or cheap hosts as their entire page and I could install it in a directory of my site to stay connected in a neat way to my online friends.

    Sure, today the software's too difficult to install and lacks some features. But if that ever changes it could mean a big change in how social networking pages interact with each other: No more middle-man.
  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:54AM (#17440044) Homepage
    Friends lists, message boards, picture commenting and bulletins could all easily be done with a free host and the right software [].

    Hey, I'm the main appleseed developer. If you have had any problems installing, I'd be interested to hear them. Anything I can do to make it easier to install, the better. I know there's a lot I can do since I haven't focused much on ease of installation, but if you have any ideas, let me know!
  • Re:Single service (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:07AM (#17440136) Homepage Journal
    I think you hit the nail on the head. Most people I know don't use multiple services. They might maintain accounts on multiple services (say, Facebook and MySpace, probably the most common pairing I've seen) but usually devote most of their time to one profile or the other. Generally in time, the disused profile becomes basically a pointer to the more-used one.

    Sometimes people might go back and forth, spending some time working on their Facebook profile and then a few months concentrating on their Myspace page, but I'd say this is more atypical. People generally migrate from one to the other depending on what service most of their friends at the time are using.

    I think this closely mirrors the IM networks, because again there you have people usually using one, but occasionally migrating from one to the other depending on who they want to communicate with. People who have a need to talk across system boundaries end up using specialized software and maintain multiple accounts. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how you can create the "Gaim" of social networking sites; it's not quite as clear how you would translate a Myspace page into a Facebook profile (although you could probably go the other way; it's the unstructured-to-structured data conversion that'd be hard, I'd imagine). It's a much more complicated problem than IM, even if the psychology is the same.

    I don't see any of this changing anytime soon. There's not going to be "one social network to rule them all" anytime soon. You're going to get different service preferences within different groups of people. All it takes is a 'critical mass' of people to start using a service in a particular (physical-world) community, and suddenly everyone has a reason to use it. What would be good is if there were easier ways to migrate data from one to the other, in the event that people do want to move, but as other people have pointed out, the service providers have an interest in making migrations as difficult as possible.
  • Re:To The Contrary (Score:3, Informative)

    by surprise_audit ( 575743 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @02:25AM (#17440742)
    Wait - you're supposed to give *real* info to those sites??
  • 1999 called, (Score:3, Informative)

    by iroll ( 717924 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @03:18AM (#17441018) Homepage
    Replace "social network" with "instant messaging client" and voila; 1999 is calling, and they want their interoperbility whine back.

    Face it: IM is no more interroperable now than it was then; sure, there's a few niche clients like Trillian operating, but what percent of users use them?

    People do one of two things: they suck it up and use more than one service at once, or they pick the one they like (or that serves more of their friends) and bail on the others. I have seen my friends (and myself, for that matter) do this with myspace, facebook, and friendster already. You start out with 3, and you end up with 1.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents