I have written about this before, but I spend more time than I would like jumping between different social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and even LinkedIn, and I still do not even have a real presence on other sites like YouTube, Flickr or Ning. It makes me feel like a monkey jumping from tree to tree in the social networking landscape. It frustrates me that all of these sites have similar and/or overlapping functions, yet are basically their own islands.
With all the hypotheses about what Web 3.0 and the Semantic web could or will be, what I want most of all is for everything to be more integrated and intuitive. I would like to be able to push my Facebook and MySpace conversations to my regular POP email account without much effort. I want my blog entries to seamlessly appear on my website and on my MySpace page (it already appears in Facebook). If I update my bio on my personal site, I want it to update everywhere on the Internet, and I want a universal way of tagging everything, whether on MySpace, the American Composers Forum, my website or this blog.
It is obvious that centralization will save millions of dollars and hours. Proprietary systems are ultimately a huge waste of time. Perhaps it's the pack rat in me, but I like saving email conversations so I can refer back. Ironically, the longest messages I receive are often on Facebook, and I cannot search effectively if I have to move between multiple databases.
There should be universal, central address database that everyone can use to enter their information, and that all other databases would refer to. There could be various options, such as allowing or disallowing companies from accessing these databases, opt-in highly selective advertising, and so on. I know that many companies are trying to achieve this, but to my knowledge, nothing satisfactory has caught on yet.
Perhaps this is all a moot point in our increasingly digital word: our physical location is mattering less and less as time goes on. The cell phone is the perfect example. I know many people that do not have landlines—and Victoria and I may eventually follow. Perhaps this is for the best. Someday information will be so easily accessible and liquid that we will not even need devices, we will just think the information, and it will appear right in front of us. No iPhones, no headsets, no computers. The future might make what we are up to now seem positively primitive. That's a pretty a scary thought.