February 20, 2007
Some input for Dave and co at Elgg:
Its a nice idea, and I like the approach taken, though I think Stephen Downes is onto something in his post suggesting improvements, specifically on the integration of OpenID - given that the 'identities' in the system are effectively URLs already, make them OpenID URLs.
Still, having a hosted solution does make two things easier: discovery, and advertising. Discovery becomes a non-issue one the widgets proliferate (users' blogs enable them to be found); advertising is a real turn-off but shouldn't be discounted without exploring the options.
Stephen identified the potential for extended discovery as a business model - essentially doing some clever mining of information to provide matching and filtering services. That sounds interesting, but I don't think its a business model. These would instead I think be a draw for popping over to the service home site, and then cross-selling some other things there. As MyBlogLog essentially uses its widgets for selling its premium visitor tracking service - which really has very little to do with social networks!
I think as far as comments are concerned, there is an interesting possibility here - I haven't had comments enabled on my site for years. If I was going to enable them, I'd have to hack around with Zope (my legacy platform!) and the Python OpenID libraries, CAPTCHA routines etc. Really, I just can't be bothered. However, the Explode widget has essentially added some comment functionality to this blog! Now, add in the OpenID functionality and you've solved a problem I didn't even consider you could solve for me - how's that?
I still have to figure out where in my ultra-minimal design I can fit the widget, so in the meantime, its here in this post... I've now readjusted my layout!