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Jonathan Lanis

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Should social networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) merge?

While Facebook and Twitter have their differences, they also having many overlapping features. To constantly use both seems redundant. Every day, more and more companies and organizations are "jumping on the bandwagon" so to speak in order to engage consumers. Consider this:

"Join us on Facebook at..."
"Follow us on Twitter at..."
"Visit us at www ..."
"Watch us on YouTube at ...."
"Visit our Flickr page at...."

The list goes on and on, but what for? This is not only terribly redundant, but also confusing and unnecessary. When new social/media networks becomes mainstream, the list of websites will only grow further. In 15-20 years from now, I suspect most, if not all, of these services will merge into one.

When I say merge, I don't necessarily mean that one conglomerate will own all of them. I believe that a flexible, open framework (or API if you prefer) will inevitability emerge in order to reduce redundancy and increase organization across all platforms. Exactly how this will happen - and what it will look like - is something that only time will tell.

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    Feb 20 2011: No. This puts too much power in the hands of one corporation and, when there is no competition, you usually end up in a state of monopoly. In a state of monopoly the one that wins the most is the producer and the consumer ( the user, the client ) end up in disadvantage.

    When competitions are present, the system auto adjusts itself, keeping it fair.
    • Feb 20 2011: As I said in my original post, I didn't mean to suggest that a single corporation would control everything. What I'm suggesting is a framework, or standard, to create a universal interface between social and media networks. Similar to the way the HTTP protocol is used today, however this would work at a much higher level.
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        Feb 20 2011: I don't think it will work out especially because of the increased problems in privacy. For example, if you have one account, that is the whole 'virtual you' that is accessible to anybody. The social networks will progress naturally and we cannot predict what will happen.

        Can't help but wait.
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    Feb 20 2011: What I hear you saying is "I don't want to keep making choices among different tools", but this is both the cost and the beauty of free markets. Your choices determine who wins and loses. Your frustration is a having to make choices on where you focus your attention, but that is the core of free markets.
    • Feb 20 2011: I agree, but that's not necessarily what I'm saying.

      You can almost imagine it as a high-level version of the HTTP protocol. What I'm suggesting is a standard rather than a stifling of competition. Nobody "owns" the HTTP protocol, yet each individual website has to follow that standard in order to be apart of the web. Just for clarification, I'm not talking about replacing the HTTP - rather building on top of it.
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        Feb 21 2011: Have a look at http://www.opensocial.org/ . I'm not necessarily advocating it just now, but it does seem to be a step towards what you are asking. I do use a couple of the proprietary platforms but don't like them because they are closed; I just use them because quite a few of my real friends use them far more than, say, email, so if I want to keep in touch I have to go inside those gated communities.
        If anyone has more information on just how open and useful the Open Social platform is, I'd like to know; I just haven't had time to look into it more.
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    Feb 24 2011: I do not prefer the 'merging' of social networks. The beauty of it lies in their being different and independent from each other although they may have some overlapping features. Consider this: During the Egyptian revolt, the Mubarak regime completely cut off internet connections because they realized its power. Mobile services too were banned. Now had these social networks not been independent, it would have been very easy for the Mubarak regime to cull the revolution because they would have been able to focus their energy and resources on a single virtual enemy. But since these tools were different, plenty, independent and had their own firewalls and codings, it became almost impossible for the regime to dismantle these one by one. if they blocked one, the other would resurface. It was a constant headache! I wonder if even China would have been able to censor or block these sites had there been a revolution there because of some reason.

    I hope you get my point.
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    Feb 20 2011: the great thing about technology is that nothing stays pre-eminent or dominant...i would rather prefer the new new to be distinct than have to be part of an established ecosystem. A Microsoft Passport wouldn't have made it easier for a Facebook or a Twitter even if Passport was a universal service and open to all.
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    May 9 2011: I think they should, and eventually the will.
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    Feb 23 2011: Would that be 'Fitter' or 'Twitbook'? Sorry the humour of it caught me off guard.