February 6, 2007

What is LinkedIn needed for? Absolutely nothing. And the same goes for MySpace.

Jon Udell asks whether private social networks such as LinkedIn are needed, or whether they can be completely refactored across the public internet. I say the latter. In social networking as in almost everything else, there’s no long-term need for an internet walled garden.

LinkedIn could be replaced by a system with the following architecture:

I don’t see anything in the above that couldn’t be pulled off by a classic, lightly-funded Web 2.0 startup.

Exactly the same argument can be applied to MySpace. The differences would only be in such details as:

But what, you ask, about confidentiality? For example, FaceBook pages are only visible to approved other users or classes of users. Well, access control is just another technical feature — provided for in the page template, and driven by the controls on the Linkerati central user directory.

As for LinkedIn itself – well, I haven’t used it much for a year and a half. But I visit occasionally, and both its strengths and drawbacks seem similar to those I wrote about back in the day.


2 Responses to “What is LinkedIn needed for? Absolutely nothing. And the same goes for MySpace.”

  1. Text Technologies»Blog Archive » Social networking architecture of the future continued on February 6th, 2007 10:40 pm

    […] Responding to a question by Jon Udell a few hours ago, I argued that private social networking “walled gardens” aren’t needed. The whole thing can be done publicly as well, assuming there’s a central database to help with things like access control, as in the hypothetical service I named “Linkerati.” […]

  2. 6 trends that could shake up the text analytics market | Text Technologies on June 20th, 2008 2:36 am

    […] A proposal to refactor social networks […]

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