Your Blog is Your Identity and Social Network

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Yet another oportunity missed! Om Malik reports that Yahoo bought MyBlogLog. Two interesting notes about the venture. First, the company was completely bootstrapped and never needed to raise venture capital. Second, the company is virtual, that is, founders and developers lived in different parts of the country and found each other through linkedin!

I actually just discovered the service a couple months ago and quickly realized that its unique approach to building a distributed social network was extremely promising and compeling. Lo and behold, just after a couple months in existence, Yahoo buys it off. The pace certainly has quickened, considering that it took more than a year for del.icio.us to be acquired (see: Yahoo Lord of the Bookmarks.

Interesting that Yahoo owns three of social networking services that I use often (i.e. flickr, del.icio.us, mybloglog). Why I think mybloglog was personally a missed opportunity is that it was so simple an idea to implement. There’s definitely got to be a way for early adopters to get a piece of the action ;-) . I’m sure all the other much older free site trackers like eXTreME Tracker, Sitemeter and StatCounter are all kicking themselves silly! Expect them to recognize the missed opportunity and start cloning the idea.

MyBlogLog is a leading indicator of a massive trend. That is, using one’s blog to build up a social network automagically. Previous to MyBlogLog, this was a multi-step activity or it was confined to the hosting blogging environment. Browser centric integration is really the killer tool. If I’m not working on it already, I expect real soon to see someone fuse this with openid’s distributed identity system. OpenID allows you to use your blog as your identity, then why can’t that identity also carry its social network with it? This makes perfect sense, after all, what is identity in the absense of social relationships?

One other interesting observation. I got an invite into facebook yesterday. So I played around with it a while. It seems to encourage twitter like behavior(i.e. nano-blogging, postlets etc.). However, to be perfectly honest, I felt like a fish out of water. It’s been more than a decade since I was associated with a university, so as a basis of building up my social network it wasn’t really that compelling. Social networking for social networking sakes isn’t as sticky as flickr or del.icio.us. That is the core individual activity takes precendence over the social building aspects. Now Blogs connect people who share common interests, making it clearly the way to the promised land.

Well speaking about emerging social networks, the one I really am enjoying right now is LibraryThing. It’s just simply mind boggling that after all this years that Amazon has been in existence, someone else builds a better solution. I guess invention is done elsewhere and that’s why new hamburger franchises keep popping up all the time. This certainly is an application that’s really well done and there’s simply no reason that it hangs around unacquired.


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