Social networks … reaching out of their boxes?

Reaching out...

Wired wrote aboutthe newly minted Open Social platform yesterday saying:

From the preliminary details it looks like Google agrees with what we said a couple months ago — it’s time for social networks to open up. Instead of rolling out another “me too” platform, OpenSocial is basically three APIs bundled together that allows developers to roll out the same application across a number of participating social networks.

They returned to it today with Ning: OpenSocial is Less About Silly Apps, where they quote Ning CEO Gina Bianchini as saying:

“The challenge with Facebook Apps today – and don’t get me wrong, we think that they are fantastic – is that there isn’t a lot of space for them to exist. You really only have one little box on a profile page. As a result of this constraint, the apps on Facebook tend to be more playful.”

I think that “playful” is shorthand for “silly” … I also think that the idea that apps (and eventually data) can bounce from platform to platform is yet another speed limit to fall on the Information Superhighway (sorry to get all 1999 on you there). If you want to get your geek on, read Open Social: a new universe of social applications all over the web, where Netscape founder and Ning principal Marc Andresson explores the new Open Social API in depth.

It’s a pretty good read and not too technical. I think he makes some interesting points about programming, especially when he says something to the effect of Standards that standardize standard behavior succeed. It sounds kind of “well DUH” but it’s an important point that is too often overlooked. I was gratified in a silly sort of way to see that Marc calls his blogroll a linkroll. I’d chalk it up to “great minds” but I think that the similarity between our minds begins and ends right about there.

The photo is Reaching out… by carf. It doesn’t appear to have anything at all to do with social networking, but his photos do appear to have very much to do with some very important things – check them out!

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