The flurry of posts about OpenSocial (from Michael Nolan, Andy Powell, Tony Hirst, Scott Wilson and George Roberts amongst those whose blogs I regularly read) reminded me about PeopleAggregator, the open social networking service I subscribed to a few months ago.
PeopleAggregator was developed by Marc Cantor, who set up the company which developed Macromedia Flash – and “says he’s paying penance today for the role he played in locking users into Macromedia Flash“. As described in a TechCrunch article “PeopleAggregator is all about using open standards to prevent lock-in in one of the most important sectors of the new web – online social networking” and it will “share information with other services through common identity standards for our profiles and through APIs (application programming interfaces) for our writing, multimedia and contacts.“.
PeopleAggregator would seem, therefore, to fit in with Ross Gardler’s beliefs that Communities can’t flourish in walled gardens. I would agree that the ability to get data out of services is important – although I also feel there’s a need to explore successful services in order to see what can be learnt from their success.
So in the summer I joined PeopleAggregator – expecting to find this service being widely blogged about as an alternative to Facebook. But there has seemed to be little interest in the service – and revisiting it I find that a search for groups containing “web” shows 5 groups, the most popular, web3ers (on what’s beyond Web 2.0) having just 8 members.
Why the lack of interest in PeopleAggregator (software which is available for downloading, enabling institutions to set up their own social networking environment)? And why, in contrast, is their such interest with Google’s announcement about their OpenSocial APIs and the companies, including Myspace and LinkedIn, who are supporting this initiative? Is this because we love Google and MySpace’s commitment to openness – or perhaps because, on this occasion, they are the underdogs (but underdogs with a chance of success)?