As described on TechCrunch a couple of days ago, Facebook Acquires FriendFeed. The Monkey Bites blog advises “Let’s Be Friends in its article on how Facebook acquired FriendFeed. But the reaction in the Twitterverse seems to be negative, with concerns that Facebook’s walled garden mentality will be applied to FriendFeed and that the ownership which Facebook claims for content posted within Facebook will also apply to content on FriendFeed. This acquisition may be a threat to Twitter, as suggested on the ZDNet Asia blog: “Facebook takes aim at Twitter, buys FriendFeed“.
Meanwhile the announcement that the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative has “started a little DC twitter activity” has been met with comments suggesting that identi.ca should be used on the grounds that “above all laconi.ca is Open source“. Dan Brickley backs this suggestion:
While it has a smaller userbase than twitter, the project is very friendly to standards such as RDF which DCMI is also committed to. Identi.ca/laconi.ca is also API-compatible with Twitter, and allows you to repost from identi.ca to twitter accounts automatically.
Oh, last thing re identi.ca: there’s a groups mechanism, so we could experiment with groups for DCMI or sub-communities…
But how relevant is this dogma? FriendFeed, it seems, is cool in some circle, as is identi.ca, whereas Twitter and FaceBook aren’t. And some FriendFeed users are talking about closing down their accounts whilst fans of identi.ca are seeking to encourage newcomers to joint, citing the richer functionality it provides as well as its open source pedigree. But to what extent will the issues of ownership of the code, rights over the data and the richness of the functionality affect people’s decisions?
For me the important aspect of these social tools is the associated community – and as a well-established Twitter user I am not too concerned regarding the openness of the source code. And although I am willing to experiment with providing richer functionality with Twitter, such as recent experiment with use of multiple hashtags for events, I do appreciate the point which Mike Ellis has raised, suggesting that it’s Twitter’s simplicity which is a key aspect of its success. So is there any evidence that identi.ca open source code and richer functionality will be successful in migrating a community to it? And is it really true that the integration between Twitter and identi.ca will be seamless and transparent? Why do I feel I’ve heard these arguments before – without the supposed benefits actually being delivered? Facebook buys FriendFeed; Identica is open source; does it matter? To you it might, but to the vast majority of users I suspect it doesn’t.