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June 13, 2007

Be aggregated as you would aggregate unto others

There should be a word for Web 2.0 services that are open in the sense that they allow you to aggregate content from other sources but that are closed in the sense that they don't expose content in forms suitable for downstream aggregation by others.

Perhaps the 'real sharing' vs. 'fake sharing' labels referred to a while back suffice?

Facebook is a good example...

Facebook is great for aggregating content from other sources, pulling it all together nicely in a single place.  For example, I have recently experimented with using Blastfeed to aggregate my two current blogs (this one and ArtsPlace SL) into a single feed that can be used as a source for my Notes area on Facebook.  (Note that this could probably be done more flexibly using Yahoo Pipes, something I'll experiment with in due course).

But, as Pete said in reply to my previous Facebook posting, Facebook appears to be pretty much useless if you want to expose any content you upload into it (photo albums, wall writings, notes, etc.) for aggregation by other services.  For example, I'd love to be able to 'read' Facebook using Bloglines, as a simple way of keeping track of what is happening.

Pete and I have recently joined the Atom/RSS Feeds for Facebook group in Facebook - a group dedicated to improving this situation.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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Comments

My fairly quick & dirty attempt at a Yahoo Pipe to merge the subset of eFoundations posts authored by me, Peregrinations (yes, yes, I'll write something soon... RL has intervened recently), and my Twitterings:

http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=flOy_6IZ3BGpY9r3nkartA

Yahoo Pipes is very nice. I really should explore it more.

Hi Andy
Funnily enough, I've been thinking about the same thing myself, related to the Facebook applications I've been experimenting with.
I've installed the "Cities I've Visited" application, and have used it to locate the various cities I've spoken at during my 10+ years at UKOLN. It was very easy to do this (nice AJAX interface). However I was conscious of the inability to export the data. This could be regarded as proprietary - but it could also be regarded as rapid development in order to test the market for this type of application, which could lead to further development if this is the case. I think we saw this with Slideshare, which you originally described as being a'fake sharing service' but then reported how it became a 'real sharing' (?) service.
So I think thgre's a time dimension to this, as well as a risk assessment (what if the application doesn't become more open).

Brian

Fair comment. There's a group "elib survivors" which is partially to bring together people who used to work on eLib projects, and partially as an experiment.

The most successful thing on it so far has been that several people have submitted pictures. Very quick and easy to do.

However - and this is, like, a big bummer - there's no way of easily exporting picture. One could right-click and "save picture as" for each individual one, but that's so manual and so Web 0.1.

I'm a bit concerned that at some point e.g. Facebook may say "We're going subscription-only", and there's a group with several hundred pictures in there. So, when many of the members do a mass migration to somewhere else, or the NBT (Next Best Thing), it's going to be difficult to move the content we've all been (voluntarily) including.

(p.s. sorry, am not technical).

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