One of the pied-pipers of social networking is making some predictions about where the most talked about technology of 2007 is heading in the new year. In his blog post, Marc Canter proclaimed, "All software is about people and now all software will have social features in it."
His company, Broadband Mechanics, has been a pioneer in developing a open social platform. Marc optimistically predicts that in 2008 the social networking will get its act together in a more open way, such as via Google's OpenSocial APIs:
Humans are migratory beasts and they’ll not sit still, while they want to maintain the relationships they established in Friendster, Orkut or MySpace - they also wish to go onto Facebook, the Chocolate lovers network or even LetsCricket. So 2008 will see a growth in the ability of end-users to freely move between networks - taking their social graphs with them
What Marc calls "digital lifestyle aggregators" (a rather baroque description for customizable personal portals such a MyYahoo, iGoogle, Netvibes, PageFlakes as well as networks like Facebook and MySpace) will continue to evolve and become more interconnected via open standards, such as OpenID2, oAuth , APML and microformats. He also advocates widgets without lock-in.
Marc is an optimist, Internet socialist and has a vested interested in social networks opening up. There will be movement in 2008 to free the social graph, but it will be thwarted by the usual passive-aggressive behavior as social networking giants try keep the playing field uneven.