The “Total Me” – OpenSocial, Data Portability, OpenID

Posted on January 16, 2008. Filed under: Data Portability, Dating, OpenID, OpenSocial, Performance Marketing, Random Rants, Research, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

I am starting to dive into OpenSocial, Data Portability, OpenID and the impact to user profiles and the concept of a digital lifestyle aggregrator.

To kick things off, I love this post from Dave McClure, outlining the problem with Facebook and their struggle to generate significant revenue from social networks. Speaking of not generating significant revenue, ya know that $ billion Yahoo paid for GeoCities, did they ever figure out how to monetize it? Hasn’t it been over 10 years and I don’t count hosting revenue as monetizing it. Clearly social networks need to be more open and integrate into existing monetization paradigms to financially scale.

What is OpenSocial: a common set of API’s for building social applications across multiple sites with three specific sets of APIs that tap into 1) member profiles, 2) the social graph, and 3) member activities. Examples of who is using it: Yahoo, Myspace, LinkedIN, Bebo, Friendster, hi5, Ning, Orkut, Plaxo, Viadeo, Oracle, and others.

From Charlene Li (see link below) “Social apps will go beyond social networks. Note that Oracle and are also partners. They have a strong interest in “socializing” their applications — applications like FaceForce that pull profile data into This opens up a whole other space for OpenSocial, namely any Saas or online site that would benefit from social information. Examples would include recruitment sites like or CareerBuilder and dating sites like

From Marc Andreeseen’s post (see link below): Are people really going to maintain multiple sets of front-end pages for their web sites for Facebook, Open Social, etc.? I think so, yes. I think any web site going forward that wants maximum distribution across the largest number of users will have a single back-end, and then multiple sets of front-end pages:

  • One set of standard HTML and Javascript pages for consumption by normal web browser.
  • Another set of HTML and Javascript pages that use the Open Social API’s Javascript calls for consumption with Open Social containers/social networks.
  • A third set of pages in FBML (Facebook Markup Language) that use Facebook’s proprietary APIs for consumption within Facebook as a Facebook app.
  • Perhaps a fourth set of pages adapted for the Apple iPhone and/or other mobile devices.

Marc condinued: Look at it this way: most users on the Internet (1.3+ billion, with 100 million joining every year) are not yet using any social networking service. The more compelling social networking becomes, the more users who will discover and start using social networking, and the bigger the pie gets for everyone, including Facebook.

Anil Dash at 6Apart had this to say:

  • At Six Apart, we think the idea of using whatever applications you want, on whatever networks you want, is really powerful, and really cool.
  • There isn’t going to be One Big Winner, either in social networking or in social applications — people will be using lots of networks and apps.
  • All of us have to have open standards for these technologies in order to reach the audiences that current social networks aren’t serving well. This includes international audiences, business users, and other diverse communities.
  • It’s important that all users have control over which applications and networks we use, and can move freely between them with our data and connections, in a system that honors privacy.
  • As a platform, OpenSocial combines the best lessons from the popularity of widgets, the social capabilities of networks like Facebook, and the application power of successful platforms like’s
  • The important story about OpenSocial is what it enables for people, not the politics between big companies.

While I was digging around, I found these posts really interesting:

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