Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The Meta-Network - now it's getting interesting

Today Google announced the launch of the new standard OpenSocial for tomorrow, which should enable third-party programmers to develop widgets which could be integrated in any social software application observing the standard. By requiring external applications to exchange a standardized set of metadata between the networks, Google is hoping to connect a wide range of different social networks under one framework. The opportunity to plug into these networks with accustomed widget application has already propelled the recent success of Facebook and is what developers were waiting for. The end result could be a global standard which would connect all existing networking applications and form one single global network.

This is actually exactly what I was waiting for. However, I am curious to which extent this network standard will deserve to be called open, namely to which extent Google will control and monitor the data which is exchanged. The fear of course is that privacy standards might be violated with one company controlling the user data of every social networking application which adheres to the standard. While from a technological point of view, this is the right step, a monopoly by Google on global social networking data is surely not desirable. In my opinion, this issue calls for a global identification standard in context of a United Nations regulatory framework. Cleary it should not be monopolized by a single private-sector player. But I still don't have an appropriate concept in mind for this, so I'm eager to learn how the discussion will further develop.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Looking out for a professional Facebook

In his latest blog post, Christian Kreutz asked why IT departments (who are still responsible for technical Knowledge Management solutions) seem to not take the participative web as a top priority. I fully agree with his analysis and also his call for a higher priorization of Web 2.0 within organizations.

Just to give one example: In fact, what I’m really looking for, is an internal Facebook application for enterprises/organizations, where everyone updates his status message regularly and you can see who’s currently working on what, meeting with whom, participating in which event, etc. Just imagine, somebody setting his status to "John Smith is drafting a discussion paper on xy". It would be so easy then to step in and say “hey, you’re working on this? That’s interesting for me too, I'm working on something similar! Let's have a look at it, maybe we do this together?”

After all, lots of our younger staff members and interns (most if them are below 30 years) spend huge amounts of time in their private Facebook accounts. They are naturally used to communicate and socialize like this. Why not seize this culture and skill setting for enhancing the communication flow withing professional teams and organizations?

By the way: It seems worth mentioning that Microsoft today bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook (worth 240 million USD). Now I'm myself not yet sure if that's good or bad news, but it might indeed be a step that could help integrating Web 2.0 as part of professional environments in the long run.