Social Media and Data Portability Inch Ever Closer

The past few days have been fairly busy in the social media space again. So I figured I should throw my opinion in the ring just like everyone else. Last week, Facebook had some really interesting news when they announced the ability to put Facebook applications on any website. This allows them to expand their brand outside of their network. Imagine if a site you regularly visit has a Facebook application, but you are not a member. The application can almost become premium content for a website, and build its’ social network all at the same time. I do not think anyone loses in this situation, except those people who do not want to use Facebook.

Yesterday Digg announced that they are joining the Data Portability Project. This is fantastic for anyone involved in a social news site. It allows a user to possible transfer their network of friends from Digg into another social media site. For anyone on more than one site (everyone seems to be on something and StumbleUpon), this is wonderful news. Hopefully, this will lead to a meta-profile for a user linking their data on all of their social sites.

To add to the fun, MySpace announced this morning their developer platform goes live February 5th. Obviously, they are a little late to the party, but I don’t think people will mind because they have so many users. In addition to announcing the platform, the platform will also support the OpenSocial platform. This is a huge win for anyone developing against social network data as that leaves us with two major segments of social data, OpenSocial and the Facebook API.

To finish off the recent news, the Data Portability Project published a report for January. This is good to see as it shows they are trying to keep the process as open as possible. In the report, they try to respond to some of the criticisms that have been thrown at them. In some respects they respond decently, but others are still thin. The big problem the project will have is people calling it hype until there is some true substance to the project or standards. There is even a “Where’s the beef?” criticism, but it is answered with some general hand waving.

Overall, this is a good batch of information for just a few days. Data Portability has most of the major players as members, and the major players now all have APIs or have announced support for them. The real question is, when do they realize they are all trying to accomplish the same thing? Also, how soon do we see a port between OpenSocial and the Facebook API? I say look for news around March.