In the latest installment of his critique of social networking applications, Stowe Boyd argues again for their integration into ways that people really work and communicate over the Internet, especially instant messaging and weblogs. He further observes:

MSN and AOL have fiddled around with integration of the most obvious social tools -- instant messaging and blogs -- but I am waiting expectantly to see something huge come out of Google and Yahoo in this area. Google is going to launch its own Firefox-based browser, and integrating instant messaging (from Picasa?), blogging, and son-of-Orkut friend of a friend stuff should follow. Ditto with Yahoo's integration of Flickr (which was an instant messaging tool before it was a social networking photo world), including it's blogging capablities, into the Yahoo Messenger and Groups world.

Well, that's all fine and I expect it to happen, but there are plenty of folks who don't necessarily want to get into bed with MSN, AOL, Yahoo, or Google. For them, decentralized solutions are needed -- and for that, we need integration of decentralized IM, blogging, and social networking technologies. My conclusion: we need a conversation between Jabber folks and WordPress folks (among others) to explore this space and build tools that are under the individual's control. I was chatting about this stuff the other day with one of the Google Summer of Code applicants and I think there are exciting possibilities here. Stay tuned...

Peter Saint-Andre > Journal