As social networks like Facebook and Google+ grow in popularity, so too do the fears that come with keeping all your information in one place.
Nowadays, more and more people keep all of their information and data in one centralized location. For example, someone might use Facebook to post status updates, pictures, notes, videos, and now music. While this is fine and dandy, two fears arise:
- All of your data is in one place, so if Facebook ever gets hacked or goes down for any reason, you’re cut off completely. You might even end up losing all of that data.
- All of your data is in one place, which means Facebook can do what it wants with your data, a la Big Brother.
Like Myspace before it, Facebook is trying its hardest to keep you on their site for as long as possible. Just recently announced was watching internet video sites (e.g., Hulu) from within Facebook. Facebook wants you to do EVERYTHING using Facebook.
Here is where Distributed Social Networking (DSN) comes in to play. Instead of using Facebook to do everything, you delegate specific tasks to specific social networks. For example:
- Twitter for status updates
- Foursquare for location check-ins
- YouTube for video
- Flickr for photos
- Imgur for images
Why would you want to do this when you could use a network like Facebook and have things all in one place? Well, aside from quelling the two fears mentioned above, distributing your social activity to many different networks will allow you to get the best experience for different types of activity. For example, YouTube is designed for video sharing, therefore YouTube will probably have a much nicer video experience than Facebook would.
So, the idea of distributed social networking is simple: Spread yourself out among specialized social networks in order to get the best experience as well as the best peace of mind.
The biggest plot hole here is that you probably do not want to have tabs open for every single network you are using. You still want a centralized place to aggregate and manage all of your social identities. Does one exist? I don’t know as I haven’t done my research, but you should really watch this space.