Anil Dash Collects Some Doomsaying About the Web

My take: someone smart needs to put together something that’s not the new Facebook or the new Twitter, but that connects all these things. The future of the Web is taking back the Web from the need for a site to entrench itself.

Facebook is convenient because everyone’s on it, but why can’t I have a site¹ or a program that puts all my friends’ stuff together even if they’re not on Facebook?² If I like Flickr or Picasa better than Facebook’s photos, and Twitter better than its status updates, why isn’t there a site that knows all those sites belong to me, and presents them to my friends in a handy place of their choosing?

What I see is an RSS reader³ where I give it one site, and it says, “hey, this looks like it belongs to a person. Do you want to subscribe to his other sites?” Then it would build a newsfeed like Facebook’s, but you’d be able to customize it, or use another reader, since we all know Facebook likes to change its feed every few months and we can’t do anything about it. We can’t jump ship because we’d lose our friends’ updates and nothing’s properly decentralized.

I’m not enough of a programmer to know the right approach. Perhaps we all put links to an OPML file in our site headers that the software could see to go find other sites we own. Maybe XFN and rel=“me”. Point is: there are lots of great services out there. We shouldn’t have to funnel them all into one social network to use them.

  1. Friendfeed sort of does this, but then everyone needs to use Friendfeed. You can’t decentralize halfway.
  2. And yeah, you can add other apps to Facebook, but it’s a step I shouldn’t need to do, and one that requires your friend to add his other feeds to Facebook, have a Facebook account, etc.
  3. But it wouldn’t need to be an RSS reader by name. It could just say, “give me the Twitter/Facebook/etc.” username of a friend”, and go find the RSS feed on its own.