March 9, 2009
From Wikipedia: Middleware is computer software that connects software components or applications.
Look at the conversation prism. It attempts to round up all of the 2.0 services out there. While many more have sprung up or died off since Brian Solis remade Robert Scoble’s Social Media Starfish, the visual metaphor does a great job telling the story: There are more communication services out there than you know what to do with.
Where’s the software that ties them all together? Who’s got the software stack infographic that shows how they all interoperate? Who is doing the legwork on the protocols and APIs to make sure we don’t have to think about them?
Oh, wait that’s right: No one.
The burden is on us. *We* are the social media middleware.
Maybe that’s what Eric Schmidt was trying to say when he bagged on Twitter as a poor man’s email system. Maybe he was talking about the lack of basic robustness that a “real” business needs to operate. Not that Twitter should evolve to become email, but it could certainly stand to learn from it. Kinda like the way we learn lessons from the mainframe world of 20 years ago on topics like virtualization.
As I was saying last Friday, we’re inundated with data these days and much of it is from some form of communication. Each service has it’s own interface, user experience, APIs, and clients. There are so many valuable insights we could gain from a system that ties them all together. Do I have any volunteers? It can be our ‘side project’. I’m not joking.