FIND INDEX AT END OF RIGHT COLUMN

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Social Web Aggregation

Now the web is social. OK, it’s always been social, but now it’s mostly social. According to Comscore, "The number of worldwide visitors to social networking sites has grown 34 percent in the past year to 530 million, representing approximately 2 out of every 3 Internet users." In some countries, such as the UK, social networking sites account for more than 75% of all web traffic.

So where’s the super-aggregator for the social web?

Facebook wants to be it. So does MySpace. Google too. A host of startups are aggregating social networking profiles, online video and more - even multiple Twitter and Jaiku accounts.

Users are starving for this, even if many of them don’t realize it yet. As more and more social networks pop up, particularly those with niche focus, the space becomes increasingly fragmented. A new social network focused on one particular topic no longer competes with just other social networks on the same topic, but with all social networks vying for the user’s attention. And as anyone who’s ever studied GTD or any other productivity methodology knows, fragmented attention is counter-productive.

The inevitable trend is that unless social networking sites make it easier to aggregate their data, they’re going to lose their most active users to social network burnout (it’s already started). A widely-adopted, highly effective aggregation tool could stave off that trend and put the social web back on course to being an indispensable productivity tool, rather than a waste of time and a security risk.