Does everything have to do everything nowadays …

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

JMHO

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Who really cares about ‘up time’ ?

A Slashdot post caught my eye this morning –

“Twitter Leads Social Networks In Downtime”

“A study on site availability by monitoring service Pingdom shows that in 2008 Twitter greeted users with the ‘Fail Whale’ for more than 84 hours, almost twice as much as any other site. At the other end of the scale imeem and Xanga managed less than 4 hours of downtime for 99.95% uptime. Myspace, Facebook and Classmates.com were the only other sites studied which managed to stay up more than 99.9% of the time.”

Does the old “5 nines” availabity mantra not apply anymore? (BTW, I was never a big fan of that one anyway )and given the ever growing popularity with twitter, it begs the question, are twits just more forgiving than other users of technology / IT solutions ?

The power of social networks …

I’ve long been interested in the social networking phenomena and particularly how it polarises opinions. Of all the recent incarnations, the one that has polarised the most opinion has to be Facebook. Now, I’ve posted before about it (and if you want a more in depth view I can heartily recommend JP Rangaswami‘s blog – confused of calcutter) but this mornings FT.com article made me smile and I just had to post part of it here.

Under the title Facebook Revolt forces HSBC U-turn the article reports that …

“….HSBC on Thursday reversed its decision to take away students’ interest-free overdrafts as soon as they leave university after it suffered a consumer revolt by graduates on the pages of Facebook, the cult social-networking site.
The bank said it was not “too big” to listen to customers and that it would freeze interest charges on overdrafts up to £1,500 for students who graduated this summer, repaying any interest charged in August……. ”
“……The move would have cost a graduate who had the maximum interest-free overdraft of £1,500 nearly £12 a month, or more than £142 a year. But a group set up a month ago on Facebook by Wes Streeting, a vice-president of the National Union of Students, called “Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off”, attracted strong support from members of the social-networking site which is hugely popular with students and graduates.
The group, which attracted more than 5,000 members, caused acute embarrassment to HSBC at a time when all high street banks are busy marketing their services to young people arriving at university for the first time this September.
Mr Streeting said: “There can be no doubt that using Facebook made the world of difference to our campaign.
“By setting up a group on a site that is incredibly popular with students, it enabled us to contact our members during the summer vacation far more easily than would otherwise have been possible.
“It also meant that we could involve our former members – the graduates who were going to be most affected by this policy.”
“….. On Thursday Andy Ripley, HSBC’s head of product development, announced the climbdown and said the bank would work with the NUS to “enhance our new account offer so that it fully reflects the needs of recent graduates”.
Members of the group celebrated the bank’s U-turn by posting messages on the campaign’s Facebook page…”

As Wolfie Smith would say – power to the people !