I imagine a blank page, an empty 'tool box', to use Stowe Boyd's analogy, surrounded by 'importing tools' which let the user import the social tools of their choice in the same way blogger lets you import elements in push button publishing.
With the ever increasing number and mobility of the social tools like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and now Seesmic, Foursquare and Google Buzz, a need has emerged for an application that ties them together, a utility I like to call "The UberApp". But how does one connect all your important social tools when new tools are still coming, when the demand for new tools has yet to be satisfied?
I think Seesmic, Foursquare and Buzz saw themselves as great connectors or UberApps when they began development, but after their release web developers and network effects are re-purposing them. The latest connecting applications may yet become the next generation of social tools, and thus may soon be among the number that need connecting, rather than those pretending to UberApp status.
As such, early adoptors are left to combine the various social tools as best they can with the application connecting devices already out there: email, bookmarks, and RSS feeds.
All kinds of applications use the Atom or RSS protocols to stream updating data back and forth; Twitter is a perfect example. This knowledge lead me to think that Atom feeds may be the best way to unite the social tools going forward.
Using feeds to import social tools and their feeds, I imagine a blank page, an empty 'tool box', to use Stowe Boyd's analogy, surrounded by 'importing tools' which let the user import the social tools of their choice in the same way blogger lets you import elements in push button publishing - in flash or html - configurable by the user to any colour, font, size or location. As such, the eventual UberApp would be developed by users using this 'empty box' and 'importing tools' over time.
Perhaps 'potential box' is better.
To this end I've noticed that it's not simple enough for 'consumers of the web' to set your blog up with an RSS feed. I've been thinking about those places that create a widget for you by asking you to input specified data into boxes. HTML code is then written that you then cut from a box and paste into your sidebar 'Add a Gadget' box.
As I am educating myself about RSS and Atom feeds as I go, I thought I'd better start at the beginning. I found that a simple, push button, consumer oriented way of connecting blogs via RSS and Atom feeds was not available. I had to go to forums through search to find an explanation. I then created a blog post explaining to consumers of digital media how to RSS feed my blog to theirs, and theirs to mine - which I posted in my sidebar and now below. But what is really needed is an Atom feed writer that configures the elements Atom address and imports the content management software all in simple push button publishing style.
PUSH THE RSS BUTTON above and it will take you to an Atom (the simpler RSS) Google Live Bookmarks page (Wikipedia article on Atom (RSS) that allows you to direct a FilterBlogs feed to your browser, your home page, your email, your phone etc., etc..
In the new era of social networking connectivity I'm using my Atom feed application, "Bookmarks Toolbar" more and more. In my Firefox browser the toolbar appears under the address bar. The titles of Blogs I've chosen to follow appear in small boxes; when I click a box, it shows me that blogs last 30 days posts in a drop down window.
Atom is a great way to spread Your Blog - it's a syndication feed to the web. To get syndicated first check to see that your browser has a 'content management system' for Atom feeds installed (like Live Bookmarks from Mozilla), then take your blogs front page address (mine is "http://filter--blog.blogspot.com/"), and simply add "atom.xml" to the end of it (http://filter--blog.blogspot.com/atom.xml).
Now you've created your Atom feed address. Paste it in your address window and the address will take you to a page that looks like this (I've dropped down the choice window):
"Choose Application" took me to "Bookmarks Toolbar" application - I clicked 'Create Feed', 'Save Bookmark' and I'm done.
Wherever I am on the net, an easy reference to any article in my blog (and yours) is two quick clicks away. :)
(end of sidebar post)
I think I have the HTML hacking expertise to create an RSS feed html writer page. That's the next step towards the much more complex 'Empty Tool Box surrounded by Importing Tools' UpperApp creation kit.
iphone icons image courtesy Little Box of Ideas Blog.
PC Social Media Icons courtesy Kaplang Blog.