Here come the MetaSocNets?

Image: Er, All your media in one place (an excuse to include a pic of Babel, by Cildo Meireles)
Image: Er, All your media in one place (an excuse to include a pic of Babel, by Cildo Meireles)

Yep, you heard that right: 2009 could be a year of MetaSocNets. That is to say meta-social networks, services that give you access to all of your social networks in one place, a bit like the way that Adium will give you access to all of your IM accounts in one package.

And it could be a very good thing indeed. Although not if Facebook has anything to do with it, seeing as it has started the year with a law suit against

Users of can stil access Hi5, Orkut, MySpace, YouTube, MSN and other social networks, but no longer Facebook.

It seems a bit mean, given that Facebook Connect is all about letting you access other web sites and serivces while remaining within the comfortable grip of your Facebook log-in…

That’s hard cheese for but as Alan Patrick at Broadstuff observes, this could well just be the beginning:

I await with interest the surfeit of MetaSocNets that will now predictably emerge in 2009, but without making’s main error of having an office in the US – fighting the lawsuit in their native Brazil would have been far more entertaining.

Now, I’m no Facebook hater. I like that Facebook is there giving so many people their first taste of the power of the social web, spreading the seeds of social media literacy, as it were.

The fact that so many of my friends and family use it have also prompted me to make an almost-resolution to use it more this year. Social media snobbery aside, it’s the best thing online for doing that because that’s where those people are.

But open, as we know, beats closed

Good luck, then, to the rising tide of MetaSocNets, the FriendFeeds, the aggregators and the filters… we need things to make things simpler and to provide easy exits (and entries) into platforms like Facebook. The more bits of the social web work as walled gardens, the more potential good things with wither and fade away.

4 responses to “Here come the MetaSocNets?”

  1. I think mobile will be the platform to watch for social web aggregators. I read somewhere that accessing social networking sites (Facebook in particular) on mobiles has risen dramatically in the last year now that people are relying on social sites to organise their lives and true web enabled handsets are proliferating.

    Along with this I think you can expect to see a new wave of mobile ads interspersed with the Facebook updates and Twitter messages.

  2. Good point, Matt – I’ve yet to see the iPhone app that will help you pull together all the Social Networks… but i epxect there are some out there / on the way…

    Mobile ads are a tricky business, but there will be a way…

  3. Good thought re mobile.

    The other thought I had, after writing my MetaSocNet post, was that there is a strong similarity between this and the attempts by AOL etc to wall its discussion groups in as the Internet emerged – didn’t work.

  4. Open is great but Facebook is a business and they have the right to protect their assets which include their users. And a big part of their success is the security and privacy they provide users. If they allow a meta-net to access that info they effectively marginalize their ability to generate revenues. After all if I’m an advertiser and I can go to one source or an aggregation of many sources where am I going to spend my money? Obviously with the aggregator.
    We monitor social media but we do not collect private sources. In order to do so we would have to ask people to compromise their logins, something we believe strongly is a very bad idea.

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