Successful system operation frequently depends on the quality of the data it contains. Social networking systems rely on the ability their members have to manage and keep up to date information about their identities. They also rely on the ability to describe and act upon data about relationships with other network members. If identity or relationship data are faulty, unstable, or inconsistent, the operation of the social network, and the performance of network based transactions related to it, will suffer.
I thought about this when I read the announcement of the Facebook Connect service. Facebook Connect allows Facebook members to log into other participating web sites and share selected information about transactions with that site with their Facebook “friends.” This announcement follows closely on MySpace’s own announcement that it will start using OpenID to support network logins across a variety of participating web sites. (Brian Solis says that Facebook Connect is “practically a competitor” to OpenID.)
Jeremiah Owyang described a typical Facebook Connect “use case” in response to a comment I made on his blog. First, here is my comment to him about his description of Facebook Connect’s significance:
Does this mean, now, that when you, Jeremiah, purchase a product at a participating Facebook Connect website, that when I log into that web site using my Facebook ID, that I will get a popup that says, “Hey Dennis, did you know that your friend Jeremiah — or at least someone using Jeremiah’s Facebook ID — just bought a Widget here? Wouldn’t you like to buy one too?”
This is how Jeremiah responded: