Canary in a coal mine

pulse, naymz, doostang, fastpitch, ...

That is the list of new social networks I've received invitations to join just recently. Some are new, some are old websites recylcing themselves as social networks. Before that, there was ning, facebook, linkedin, geni.com, myspace, friendster, hi5... This is crazy. Have we reached the boo.com stage of facial neworking? (Oops. I just realized I wrote facial instead of social. That's hilarious).

Meanwhile, Blog Friends -- the one thing that I found most promising on Facebook (at least as an example of a feature that I could make use of, not necessarily a general killer app that would change the world) -- died an ominous death. Ominous for Facebook that is. But in it's last gasp, it inspired a useful cliche. The day it died, my status message: wondering if Blog Friends was like a canary in a coal mine.

Why that analogy? See what Blog Friends themselves said: "... we have been at the mercy of Facebook's frequent modifications of their Platform specifications, and that has also been another disabling factor for us." So I remain firmly in the camp of Facebook skeptics -- at best, it's the next AOL (which is still huge).

I remain however a huge fan of Geni.com. That one that should be good for generations.. literally.

Overall, I hope social networking becomes something that's not quite a separate app, and not just a feature, but a service/capability as ubiquitous, useful and unobtrusive as ... email! (Hey check that out: 3 "U"s! Now I sound like a cheesy business book). Somebody should create standard api and ... yeah! Something called Open Social... That would be pretty promising!

Of course, I've been wrong before on this kind of stuff.