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Where's my single social stream?

Mike Elgan | July 12, 2016
Years ago, everybody wanted their social activity unified into a single stream. Is the dream still alive?

I talked to Digi-Me founder and executive chairman Julian Ranger last week, and he told me his company is working on the ability to add additional information beyond social posts, including medical information harvested from quantified-self wearables, financial data and more. He also said the company is working on a system that will enable you to share your personal data with companies that request it in a way that's controlled by you.

I also asked Ranger if Digi-Me had any plans to become a social aggregator, a modern take on the FriendFeed idea. After all, Digi-Me is already synchronizing many social networks (and RSS feeds). Why not bring in other people's posts along with my own? Plus, Digi-Me could offer an encrypted and more secure way to do social networking.

Doing that would probably be contrary to his company's mission, Ranger said, but he added that another company could and probably would create such a service on top of the Digi-Me platform.

"The power of personal data is so huge that if we were trying to take some of that value chain to ourselves, we would inhibit further innovation rather than encourage it," he said. Ranger specifically cited Twitter as an example of a company that stifled innovation by taking over for itself some of the services that other companies built on top of its platform.

So there you go, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: Digi-Me is a platform upon which you can build a service that achieves Facebook's mission to make the world more open and connected -- without a Facebook monopoly. The downside is that because Digi-Me costs money, it's never going to be a mainstream platform.

Do we still want a connected world? I know I do.

Facebook's stated desire "to make the world more open and connected" is the right vision. But Facebook's monopoly solution is the wrong approach. Google doesn't allow third-party companies to access Google+ with an API. And Twitter has demonstrated over time that it can't be trusted to allow third-party services using its API to continue existing.

Despite proclamations by social media companies, making the world "more open and connected" is always going to be secondary to making money.

Still, I want a single stream where all the social activity I care about shows up in a single place, and from which I can engage with everyone I know on many social networks.

We need someone to build it. Then we need users to demand access to their own social streams.

Who's with me on this?


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