I am going to start referring to the release of the Facebook platform model as the Facebook Discontinuity, since it seems like the history of social networking apps will be dated before and after.
Among other things, the FB Discontinuity has forced the vendors of various doggy offerings to accelerate their implicit or explicit plans to kill or drastically revamp sluggard apps.
For example, I recently learned about the Google/Carnegie Mellon SocialStream project [pointer: Search Engine Watch], which sounds like the fusion of meta-network notions with the flow and traffic model (as found in Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku, and others).
An Introduction to the Project
Socialstream is the result of a Google-sponsored capstone project in the Master’s program at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute. This project was guided by three goals that built upon each other:
Initial Task: Rethink and reinvent online social networking
Refined Focus: Discover the user needs related to social networking and explore how a unified social network service can enhance their experience.
Prototype Goal: Create a system for users to seamlessly share, view, and respond to many types of social content across multiple networks.
Directed to help improve the online community orkut, the project’s scope was not to simply redesign the interface. Our team considered how online social networking could bring greater value to users, especially for ages above twenty. After initial brainstorming and research, we chose to focus on the effects of a new model for online social networking: a unified social network that, as a service, provides social data to many other applications. Our user research examined needs related to online as well as offline social networking and considered how they related to a unified social network service model. Through this user research we identified a set of archetypes that represent common behavior patterns that existed across multiple study participants and also formulated a summarized list of their high level needs.
Also, the rumor about Yahoo’s Mosh seems to be spreading (mostly courtesy of TechCrunch), which I am trying to clarify with my contacts in Yahoo. This is likely to be the Discontinuity-inspired end of Yahoo 360, which has had a disappointing pageview downturn, as interesting in MySpace and Facebook has risen.
Anyway, more to follow on both fronts as I weasel my way into getting more insight into the technology and business plans behind both Socialstream and Mosh.