My Social Networking Dream
The great promise of the internet is here. OK, maybe not here here, but we’re standing at the dawn of a new age, only moments from the time when the internet transforms once again, and finally becomes a seamless connection of people and information, woven together like tapestry, like music.
It’s looking more like we’re on the cusp of of that Number 9 song by the Beatles, everything going off in separate directions, clanging, banging, never quite in sync, random words that just don’t make sense. The Beatles could have written that song today just by taking a snapshot of twitters.
I’ve missed all that
It makes me a few days late
Compared with, like, wow
And weird stuff like that
The idea of social networking is a great one. We have an online profile. We interact with people who are all over the world. We exchange ideas about music, art, politics, technology, our favorite cocktails, Britney Spears. We do this on blogs, forums, Facebook, MySpace. We tell our friends what music we’re listening to in our instant messaging status. We share our pictures. We vote stories up or down so the rest of us don’t have to bother with the boring stuff.
But keeping up with our friends and people whose views interest us has become an effort in stalking. I will read your blog and follow your twitters and skim my favorite forums to find your posts. I’ll connect with you on LinkedIn and be your LiveJournal friend. I can get Google Alerts that tell me when your name comes up on someone’s site. I feel as though I should have separate folders in Bloglines for every person I know with RSS feeds that follow their every online move.
But what about the woven tapestry, the seamless conections? My dream is this. I’d like a service that consolidates all of my online profiles into one handy stalkers-are-us site.
Adding all my social networking profiles
I want to add all the sites I’m on, with a quick status page that shows the current activity on each. Did I recently write a note on Facebook? Add pictures to Flickr? Digg a story? Give me a snapshot.
Adding all the communities I post on
I’d like to list all the blogs and forums I post at so again, I can have a status page with links. It could automatically generate a list of recently posted items from everywhere around the web. How cool would that be?
Pushing or pulling a status message
Enough with the status messages already. I mean really. We put our status in IM, Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal. I want to put my status message in one place and then choose which services get updated with it. And maybe I do want separate status messages for different services, so let me both push a status message out to multiple services as well as pull individual status messages into this magic new consolidated profile system.
What I’m doing right now
Some of the latest services are all about what’s going on right now this very minute. It seems like minutia, but I think it’s just a way to feel a sense of community. We’re not all hanging out in person, but by sharing what we’re doing, it’s as though we are. So, let me choose what I want to share. I could share the music I’m currently listening to, the forums I’m currently reading, even what I’m doing (“writing a blog post”). And of course, this would have to be opt-in. Maybe I don’t want you to know when I visit the When Will Nsync Reunite discussion forum. So, I’ll just keep that private.
A list of everything else
Sometimes I want to buy someone a gift. But I’m not sure what to get them. So, I check for an Amazon wish list. But lots of people come up with the same name. Or I can’t find them. I want the universal stalker profile system to list things like the Amazon wish list too. Does iTunes have a wish list? Can you share what you’re reading on Amazon? If not, you should be able to, and I want that here too. I want to include links to any reviews I’ve done of books, movies, restaurants, vacations. (Not that I actually do this, because you know, that would take non-laziness, but maybe you write reviews on those review sites and I want to read them!)
I want to add all my various profiles, but I want the service to learn from that and from time to time, I want it to list the other places it thinks I am online so I can either say, yep, that’s me; show that too. Make it easy for me.
Lots of control over who sees what
LiveJournal does a pretty good job of this. You can get really granular with who views posts. If I have a post that only is viewable by three people, I would only want those three people to see that link in my magic stalker profile too. Twitter needs to work on this. Maybe I want to send a quick message to a group of people, rather than the whole world. Let me do it!
It’s a magic, perfect world!
With a magic stalker service such as this, I could add all my friends and have a consolidated status page to see what’s going on with all of them. But this is impossible, right? All of these services would have to agree and that would never happen. Well, maybe not, but I can dream. I know that these services all live on page views, but I don’t think my magic new service would hurt that. In fact, it might increase page views. I might not check 10 forums every day to see who’s posting, but if I checked my friend status page and see some interesting posts, I’ll click over and check them out. If you’ve just added some pictures on Flickr or Facebook, I’ll head on over to see them.
Really, this would make my life so much easier. If someone out there could just get going on this, I would greatly appreciate it. And feel free to use the name Stalkers Are Us. stalkersareus.com is already taken, but stalkrsareus.com is still available, and you know that missing “e” will get you some extra venture capital, so it’s a better domain name all around.