Dreaming of a single digital home

Mansi made an interesting comment on one of my posts, about where the web is heading:

‘instead of having multiple social stops, we’ll all have one social home, so we don’t have to leave. ever.’

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and though that is logically where we should be heading, I wonder if it will be possible in practice. I’m thinking of a service that is like FriendFeed and houses all your social presences in one place, but it should have one crucial difference: users should be able to control their privacy levels. So something along the lines of Facebook from the privacy point of view, but it should allow asynchronous following of people, like on Twitter. Currently Twitter offers only two options: on and off (via protected updates). Facebook is simpler from that point of view but requires approval when anyone ‘friends’ you in order to have them in your network. Another key issue in the service I’m talking about would be needing to use only one password to access everything, instead of having to remember multiple passwords for every site you log in to. 

Of course, single sign-on would need to work, and that can only happen when one company owns all the sites in question. Google is the closest so far. Yes, it does beg the question of monopoly – power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

So maybe all this is just a pipe dream, and someone needs to invent a smarter way to save passwords, which automatically gets updated when you change them on any of the multiple sites you use – which will in turn need a password of its own! 

I can’t stop thinking of the potential of the single web home idea though. It will be like your digital passport – the only document you’ll need online.

PS: Read this really informative post by Tim O’Reilly on the subject of the coming War of the Web.

2 thoughts on “Dreaming of a single digital home

  1. Anjali,

    I think that in order to create a single digital home, we all need to be creators and not just curators. This is already happening to some extent. And more and more tools are enabling that marriage. When we look at it on a macro level, and as most planners do, put it in a pretty venn diagram, the curators and the creators are moving closer and the number of people curating + creating is increasing.

    Hence, I think the future lies in each of us building our own social structures ourselves, putting our offline social lives and online social lives in one place. Personally created template and personally created medium. And who knows, that place might not be limited to a computer screen.

    • Completely agree. Merging online and offline, curation and creation is something I was talking about with my colleagues at work recently as well, and PSFK talked about it to a smaller extent (mainly the relevance of curation). The thing is, I think we are still some way off from getting there. It’s very exciting though – a future where we have one seamless home for our thoughts.

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