Jay Parkhill July 10th, 2007
With all the recent talk about Facebook I finally decided to check out the F8 platform. I opened a Facebook account a year or so ago but abandoned it when I couldn’t find anything to do there. F8 is cool, though.
The range of different applications people have built is impressive and some of them are even interesting (to me). What impresses me more is their vision (to paraphrase Wayne Gretzky’s famous phrase) of where the puck is headed.
In the past two days I have read two articles about walled gardens. They’re everywhere, but no one likes them. OpenID is a great idea to put some holes through the walls, but at best it seems like it will let users tunnel from one walled garden to another with a consistent user identity.
Facebook gets it a little better. By opening the platform to outside developers they let users lob content out from behind walls elsewhere. It is terrific as far as it goes. It comes closer than anything else I’ve seen to letting people aggregate their web “presences” in one place.
Problem is that it’s a walled garden itself. All that stuff that gets lobbed out of other gardens is basically stuck inside Facebook’s own walls (Kottke explains this better than I can). It’s certainly an interesting problem- how can you take the walls down entirely so that data can flow in and out, back and forth, and still make money?
Facebook, by embracing “inbound-openness”, certainly seems to have skated past its other big competitors at the moment. I’m fascinated to see whether Mosh and Socialstream envision social networking platforms as moving in the same direction.
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