Like many of you, I'm on the major social networking systems Twitter and Facebook and also contribute content on this blog, two podcasts, and two websites. The problem I see is that each of these systems is a walled garden. Podcaster Leo Laporte has been talking about this in general lately too. When I write a post here, people read it and make comments on the blog itself. I also tweet about it on Twitter and send it as a link on Facebook. The latter two also often generate further discussion within Twitter and Facebook. The blog content is picked up by other sites and blogs which leads to further discussion there. The problem is that nothing pulls this all together. Readers of this blog don't see some of the great comments followers have tweeted on Twitter or friends have left on Facebook unless you follow me on Twitter or are a friend of mine on Facebook. Add to that, the comments regarding podcasts which are in iTunes and on the respective show notes sites.
It is interesting to point out that this mostly relevant to comments made rather than the originating content. Tools like TweetDeck allow you to post content to Twitter and Facebook accounts and blog posts and podcasts themselves are syndicated via RSS but the comments about any of this content remains within the social networking walled gardens. To continue the analogy, it is like the hosts of garden parties freely walk from one garden to the next but their guests have to stay within the walls of their designated parties.
A solution here isn't obvious and likely is being worked hard by people at Facebook, Twitter, and Google. The challenge is that some of these systems are wide open like Twitter while others are closed like Facebook. While Facebook is working on making itself more open (and the recent purchase of FriendFeed will likely expedite this), I still think that it needs to tread carefully. Rather than making everything wide open on Facebook, my vote would be to have a checkbox on a post or comment indicating that it can be shared or perhaps a more pervasive option but one that is still under the control of the user. Then we also need the ability to aggregate all content related to a particular topic. For example, all comments about this blog post whether they were written in the comment box here or a reply on Twitter, or a comment in Facebook would appear or be directly accessible from each of those sources.
As always, I welcome your thoughts - using whichever walled commenting system you'd like.