Age of the open Social Stream
The Social stream has already been recognized as a major factor in the evolution of the Social web, a force that is able to change the way we communicate in the virtual world (why shot an email about amazing Susan Boyle when you can easily treat all your Facebook friends with her full screen video?) and consume the most recent and relevant content out there (Honey, you won’t believe it – Ashton just tweeted a picture of pregnant Demi in a bikini!).
Now Social Networks are warming up their engines for the next big step in Social Streams – syndicating streams. Both Facebook and Twitter, arch-rivals in the real-time Social Stream arena, have lately made important progresses to help users better experience the web by taking their social connections along with them for the world wide web ride. The recent blur of the boundaries between Social Networks and traditional sites is also a huge opportunity for traditional sites to step up and make their user experience more social and engaging.
Earlier this month Facebook made an important announcement involving its “Open Stream” strategy. Facebook now enables site owners and application to tap into the user’s newsfeed stream and leverage it in their site or applications. The new set of API, which is already accessible, allows retrieving the complete user newsfeed stream, including all the data bits that are contained in a feed item (such as images, user’s information, comments made, “likes” and more). Furthermore, in Facebook’s March 2009 profile overhaul they have evolved the stream to be semi real-time and included filtering options. Both of those features are reflected in the new API set, opening up an endless number of opportunities for developers to incorporate the real-time stream in their site and applications.
Off course, Facebook are also working hard to fight one of the major showstoppers for this new (and arguable disruptive) technology – privacy issues. To avoid any misuse of the user’s data the requesting application must receive an authorization from the user, and only than can it access the user’s social stream. They have also added another restriction – applications are only allowed to get data from the last 24 hours, to stop data miners from hosting a critical mass of data about users.