Social network aggregation
Social network aggregation is the process of collecting content from multiple social network services, such as Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitch, YouTube, etc. into one unified presentation. The task is often performed by a social network aggregator (such as Hootsuite and FriendFeed), which pulls together information into a single location, or helps a user consolidate multiple social networking profiles into one profile. Various aggregation services provide tools or widgets to allow users to consolidate messages, track friends, combine bookmarks, search across multiple social networking sites, read RSS feeds for multiple social networks, see when their name is mentioned on various sites, access their profiles from a single interface, provide "lifestreams", etc. Social network aggregation services attempt to organize or simplify a user's social networking experience, although the idea has been satirized by the concept of a "social network aggregator aggregator".
There are other related uses of social media aggregators aside from simplifying the user's social networking experiences. Some aggregators are designed to help companies (and bloggers) improve engagement with their brand(s) by creating aggregated social streams that can be embedded into an existing website and customized to look visually intrinsic to the site. This allows potential customers to interact with all the social media posts maintained by the brand without requiring them to jump from site to site. This has the benefit of keeping customers on the brand's site for a longer period of time (increasing "time on site" metrics).
Social network aggregators
Social network aggregation platforms allow social network members to share social network activities like Twitter, YouTube, Stumbleupon, Digg, Delicious, with other major platforms. All content appears in real time to other members who subscribe to a particular community, which eliminates the need to jump from one social media network to another, trying to keep an eye on one's interests.
Social network aggregation systems can rely on initiation by publishers or by readers. In the publisher-initiated aggregation systems, the publishers combine their own identities, which make their readers see all aggregated content once subscribed. In the reader-initiated systems (such as Windows Phone 7 people hub and Linked Internet UI), the readers combine the identities of others, which has no impact on the publishers or other readers. The publishers can still keep separate identities for different readers.
Technically, the aggregation is enabled by APIs provided by social networks. For the API to access a user's actions from another platform, the user will have to give permission to the social-aggregation platform, by specifying the user-id and password of the social media to be syndicated. This concept resembles open ID. In March 2008, The Economist reported that social network services are only beginning the move away from "walled gardens" to more open architectures. Some sites are working together on a "data portability workgroup", while others are focusing on a single sign-on system called OpenID to allow users to log on across multiple sites. Historically, the trend from private services to more open ones can be seen across many Internet services from email and instant messaging to the move that early online service providers made to become websites. The OpenSocial initiative aims to bridge the member overlap between various online social network services.
Overlap between multiple social-network services
The attraction of social network aggregation comes from the fact that some users tend to use multiple social networks: they have accounts on several social-networking sites. In November 2007, Alex Patriquin of Compete.com reported on the member overlap between various online social network services:
Notes and references
- Rachael King (2007-06-18). "When Your Social Sites Need Networking". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- Stan Schroeder (2007-07-17). "20 Ways To Aggregate Your Social Networking Profiles". Mashable. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- Beth Snyder Bulik (2007-06-18). "Upstart websites aim to consolidate social networking". Advertising Age.
The latest trend in the space is aggregation-websites...[which] all present variations on the theme of organizing or simplifying a consumer's social-networking experience.
- Brian Briggs (2008-03-17). "Social Network Aggregator Aggregator AllMyFrickingFriends.com Launched". BBSpot. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- "Social Aggregation: defragment your online life". April 1, 2008. Archived from the original on December 29, 2009.
- Microsoft. "Windows Phone 7 Features". Microsoft. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
- Nokia (2009-09-02). "Linked Internet UI Concept". Nokia. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
- David Jennings (2005-08-03). "Aggregation of data across social networks". alchemi.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- "Everywhere and nowhere". The Economist. 2008-03-19. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- Alex Patriquin (2007-11-12). "Connecting the Social Graph: Member Overlap at OpenSocial and Facebook". Compete.com blog. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- "Who Uses Social Networks and What Are They Like? (Part 1)". ReadWriteWeb. July 9, 2009. Archived from the original on June 22, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2013.