I’m starting to see some signs that “Social Ntworking” as we know it today is dying – not a quick death – but a long drawn out death. What I am hearing people want is a more closed social network, which I am calling a “Selective Network”. A network where everyone is excluded unless they are implicitly included – basically you can’t get to me unless you know me, or somone I trust knows you.
It’s not really anything new – LinkedIn for one has done it for years. While it isn’t new, it is becoming more prevelant.
So how do we get to a “Selective Networking” model from the “open Kimono” model we have now?
First, there needs to be a trust mechanism on the Internet – between people, between sites, etc. OpenID can and will help – but there really needs to be a “social networking API” – a well designed format for trusted data sharing, with built in user controllable limitations.
When I get a “new friend request” I should see links that define how this new friend is related to me – be it from other common friends, someone who comments on my blog (or who’s blog I comment on), etc. I need to see the linkage between me and my new “wanna be” friend. I need to be able to quickly visualize the trust chain – be in on a web site, or in an email message. Computers need to help me know who to trust – based on my other trusted relationships.