Facebook has always had big plans for its newsfeeds, but those plans haven’t always included open sharing options. Ironic, I know, considering Facebook being the first to set up an open platform format for third party developers. But individual users’ privacy is extremely important to Facebook, and that’s how it should be.

So how would users feel about SocialToo‘s new roundabout way of republishing Facebook wall posts to your Twitter profile? I think they would generally be OK with it. The way SocialToo’s new Facebook application works isn’t automating the publishing process, which keeps users at a high level of control for this particular option for republishing content across the social web.

After installing the SocialToo application on Facebook, you can add your Twitter credentials as well. The next time you post something to your Facebook wall, you will also have the option of posting it to Twitter as well. It’s not exactly a re-posting of Facebook content on Twitter, but it’s close enough and it gets the job done.

Now Facebook did already give you the option of pulling from your own Facebook news feed for the purpose of republishing content via RSS. Parse that content through a third party Twitter app and you’re good to go. But this option has historically led to some interesting privacy debacles that have likely made Facebook wary of opening up too much of Facebook’s news feeds too early in the game.

Nevertheless, Facebook has been opening up a great deal of its newsfeed options, especially for Facebook Pages, which are designed for brands and already have more public access than individual profile pages. But as Facebook is required to become more competitive with Twitter, open standards are being adopted in a careful manner as far as Facebook is concerned.

This all begs the question: how long will we need to rely on third party applications for such cross-site compatibility? There are a number of different ways by which third party developers have attempted to make our media-sharing tendencies easier through the social web. They’ve given us browser add-ons that allow us to pick and choose the sites on which we post content, and present us with the much needed option of easy re-syndication.

For the time being, the platform approach appears to be the most effective. It’s a trend we’ve seen since the inception of open browsers and open platforms, as third parties fill in the feature gaps that niche user groups desire and eventually require. That means we’ll have to wait and see which type of platform proves most effective for media-sharing, and how it will fit in with future iterations of privacy standards therein.

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Kristen Nicole


    Barnaby John Byrne24 August 2009 3:44 pm

    Hi, I did find your article interesting, and well written. I think to accuse Facebook of imitating by switching from non-syndication is a little unfair, they have pioneered this Social Network thing after all and are only accounting for the increased variety of tastes, therefore more options and functionality are added to accommodate rather than to correct. It is not a change of philosophical outlook, to my mind, but a change adopted primarily to simply adhere to modern trends? It seems to me that because there is more depth to Facebook a change seems more conspicuous to somebody not harnessing it’s full power.

    I think it is easy to use the varied concept of “Third party” to make a point; in my opinion “open-source” as a concept varies in nature too, in the case of Facebook they have opened the doors completely, and given the community the key to a treasure chest of functionality and possibilities for which I as an aspiring app developer am overwhelmingly grateful. When open-source software holds nothing back, third-party developers obviously become more powerful; again with Facebook so much is possible, particularily with the dawn of AIR apps and Facebook Connect, that is a little bit short-sighted to write off the largest online developer community as amateurish in the way that you do above.

    I will continue to use Twitter, but find that most of my time is spent on Facebook; I generally don’t think of it as a competition as they are such different Networks in every way and I’m sure they will co-exist for a long time indeed.

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