Recently, in the social networking category…

My first reaction to GroupTweet was: What’s the point? It seemed like an indirect way to send and recieve tweets with people I already communicate with on Twitter.

My second reaction to GroupTweet was: Ok, this could be useful for communicating with a subgroup of your friends. As people use Twitter, they tend to accumulate followers that are spread out geographically. If you’re wanting to make plans to go out on Saturday night, those tweets don’t necessarily need to go to people that live hundreds or thousands of miles away from you.

My third reaction to GroupTweet is to unfollow those I’ve followed, and not join any others. The problem with GroupTweet is it undermines one of the biggest strengths of Twitter: the ability to control the experience. When you follow someone else’s group, you allow that person to decide, at least partly, what you receive. The group owner chooses who to allow in the group, and when they let someone in, you start receiving their tweets to the group, whether you want them or not.

Just to be clear, I haven’t had an actual problem with GroupTweet yet, like getting spammed or anything. It was just seeing a tweet from someone I hadn’t followed that made me realized the idea has a fundamental flaw.

So I could see starting my own group, but I can’t see joining someone else’s without a clear set of rules on who will or won’t be allowed to join — much like the example GroupTweet gives on their home page. I don’t know that there’s a real solution to the problem without making the GroupTweet service significantly more complex. It may be that this is an idea with limited application until Twitter offers more fine-grained control of what you receive.

On Thursday, Google will announce their OpenSocial platform—an open API for social networks. Clearly a shot at challenging Facebook. I still have little interest in building apps on top of social networks, but the APIs for profile information and social graph will be very interesting.

1. Are you on Facebook?
Yes. Update: I’ve since deleted my page. So, technically, yes.
2. Can we be friends on Facebook?
3. Why not?
I don’t use it.
4. Why not?
I tried it, didn’t like it.
5. But then you miss out on all the cool Facebook Apps!
That’s not a question.
6. But, don’t you miss out on all the cool Facebook Apps?
No. Where do you think all those apps come from? They come from grown-up websites. Remember websites? They’re what caused the downfall of AOL. Remember AOL? It was a private network with proprietary apps. This has all happened before, it will all happen again.
7. Do I have to answer all those questions?
8. But, how can you and I connect and share stuff and keep track of each other and things like that?

If you want to keep up with me you can:

  • Subscribe to my blog
  • Subscribe to my Twitter feed
  • Subscribe to my Flickr pics
  • Connect to me on LinkedIn
  • Send me email occasionally
  • Call once in a while
  • Drop by when you’re in town

And I, in turn, will do the same for you.

9. Well, then… do you have a MySpace page?
See, now we can’t even be real friends.