Nick O’Neill at the Social Times wrote an interesting post last week stating that social networking sites would be "dead" in two years. Meaning that individual sites will soon be a thing of the past and integration is coming.
However, the integration of social networks will mean that each individual brand is set to lose revenue. Already we have seen that Facebook is blocking Google Friend Connect in an effort to protect user data. They’ve even created their own iteration called Facebook Connect. This move also proves that data portability remains a "nice to have" aspiration, not a "must have."
The question is whether or not the Web 2.0 industry of countless applications, widgets, and networking sites will want to make integrated sites and data portability a reality and whether or not it makes sense from a financial standpoint. FriendFeed is already an aggregator to connect multiple profile sites, and others have come into the mix (and gone) as well. But what about the idea of one site for all? Is it realistic, or even necessary?
Just like there is no one universal e-mail provider, I don’t believe that we’ll ever see one universal site that integrates all of the current social network sites into one. People want choices, and the sites that survive will be the ones with the highest value proposition for each audience that they cater to.
So, let’s enjoy the individuality and options that are offered to users. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Consider the different social groups and people you may connect with on Facebook vs. MySpace and LinkedIn vs. Twitter. Variety is the spice of life.