I always cringe when seeing people try to build an open source rival to Facebook. Projects like Diaspora gain publicity as a nice idea, but get little real traction.
However, I’ve come to believe that there is a potentially viable and very real open source rival to Facebook … WordPress.
That might sound silly at first, but hear me out:
Burge goes into how Automattic could provide unified identity across sites. I’m not so crazy about that, but I do agree that WordPress, and by extension blogs, are the original Facebook Wall.
The difference is that somehow blogging got mixed in with something people do in their mom’s basements. Meanwhile, attention-whoring on Facebook became socially acceptable.
I used to think that mindless updates on Facebook were a problem with its users, not Facebook, but I started doubting that when I began to see the constant pestering from the site to its users: UPDATE YOUR STATUS! LIKE PEPSI! TAG THIS PICTURE WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW! UPLOAD YER PHOTOS—WE NEED YOU TO UPLOAD MORE PHOTOS! RSVP TO THESE EVENTS! YOU DON’T EVEN NEED TO GO!
Facebook’s stated goal is to “make the world more open and connected”, but in order to do that they’ve been playing this psychological trick, resorting to putting you on a mission to let everyone know about the most important person in the world.