Time was when being unique was a bit special; when being different was something to be celebrated. It seems now that when it comes to social networking solutions and tools, everyone just wants to be the same.
A few weeks back facebook announced that they were opening up their status API to “… make sure the ability to share this content was available through our standard APIs….. and opening new APIs for you to post links, create notes, or upload videos etc”. So there you go then, in no way a response to the mega growth of twitter and its impact on the usage of facebook.
Earlier, and in a move that angered many users, LinkedIn added a status element (aka “what are you doing now”) to their offering, mirroring both Twitter and Facebook
Today we hear that social contacts platform Plaxo “…is adding two new stream aggregation features to its stream service Pulse which tries to build a social network around third-party data, allows users to stay connected to their friends’ updates” – sounds familiar.
More worrying though is the conundrum that may soon face many software developers. Is there any value in being unique and developing something new or do you simply just throw something together based on what already exists? What sustainable value is there in being new and first anymore? Don’t get me wrong, mash-ups are cool and many of the best ones work because, through a combination of different solutions and ideas, you actually do create something new. It seems to me though that the current trend in social network solutions is just to do more of the same and shamelessly steal from the competition.
Oh well – looks like everything really does taste like chicken