The Future of Social Media: The Walls Come Crumbling Down

The social web is the new walled garden: the photos we upload to
Facebook, the 140-character messages we post to Twitter, and all of
this other social activity is more or less locked away in those
services. A friend cannot reply to your Twitter post without
registering an account, and you are basically locked out of doing
anything on Facebook unless you sign up. And it’s all-but-impossible to
take all your stuff out of these services in order to switch to a

To be sure, authorized features like Facebook Connect allow
users to share their activity from other services with their Facebook
community, such as movie ratings at or high iPhone game
scores. And there are also unauthorized tools that allow you to
cross-post your content to multiple sites, but they are basically
hacks, and they do not enable any of the real two-way interaction that
defines the “social” web. In the words of Forrester Researcher Jeremiah
Owyang, “the inhabitants of today’s isolated social networks will adopt
a more useful social experience” by importing cool stuff from the wider
web. But, he emphasizes, “they’ll still be stuck on those islands.”

Leo Laporte, a broadcaster who runs the popular TWiT network
of technology podcasts, calls the phenomenon “the social silo,” and he
doesn’t think it can last much longer. “People are pouring all this
content and value into individual sites,” says Laporte, “but they
aren’t going to want to keep dealing with Facebook, and Twitter, and
FriendFeed, and whatever is next.” — David Charter, Wired