Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How I Accidentally Wrangled My Social Networking Services

There's a lot of social networking and microblogging going on, and I was having trouble with it. I've been on Facebook since it was restricted to college students, and I use it to keep up with irl friends and a couple of internet friends. I'm relatively new to Twitter, and I use it to keep up with webcomics people and GNU/Linux people and a couple of irl friends. I've been using Buzz diligently, because it's rather convenient and I wish people would switch to it despite the privacy concerns. (Let's face it: Google has all of our information already anyway.) On Buzz, I have a couple of irl friends. Buzz let me connect my Twitter account to it, so I could just post to Twitter and have something posted to Buzz. So, that brought the number down to two services, Facebook and Twitter. More manageable, but still annoying.

Then, the other day I was listening to an older episode of FLOSS that I had somehow missed, and one of the hosts mentioned Identi.ca as "the open source Twitter." I became intrigued and visited the website. Indeed, it seemed to be an open Twitter. All content is Creative Commons licensed, and it was built on the open source StatusNet software. I signed myself up using OpenID.

Upon fiddling about with the settings, I discovered that I could connect Identi.ca to both my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Score! What I didn't expect but found delightful is that Buzz then grabbed my Twitter post that Twitter had grabbed from Identi.ca.

So, there you have it. I can now update every single social networking service I use thanks to the power of open source software. Sure, I guess I could have installed one of those fancy programs that lets you update everything... but I regularly use three different computers and operating systems, as well as one smartphone. Instead of finding four different programs, I can now use one web interface. On top of which, I've a feeling that Identi.ca will introduce me to people from the open source community all over the world.

And besides, if rms uses Identi.ca, then it has to be good stuff.

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