Linking social-networking sites

There have been many efforts to integrate various social-networking platforms into a seamless community.  Some were introduced by the sites themselves, such as Facebook Connect.  Others are third-party middleware like Power.com, launching this week in the U.S.  

College of Communication Professor Hyun-Yeul Lee, a technology expert in the Department of Mass Communication, says the advantage in the effort to align the social-network stars likely will go to the platforms.

“When instant messaging became a big hit through AOL, Yahoo, and MSN, users flocked to specific applications based on their daily use, while others used clients that were already available associated with their e-mail accounts.  Because of a wider distribution use between the different client applications, there was a need for middleware applications or middleware features in existintg clients to log onto other IM spaces.

“It is natural to see such a parallel now with social-networking sites, but different in the manner that these sites are social repositories.  I predict sites like Power.com will not be as successful because of two factors:  Communities have flocked together and grown within a popular network, such as Facebook and Myspace; and popular network sites such as Facebook allow developers to build an application which can include integrating other social-network sites.

“Unless there are convenience features compelling enough in sites such as Power.com, middleware ideas will most likely be developed and adopted within existing social-networking sites.”

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