One of the problems with our online social networks is that they don’t talk to each other. What is happening in our Ning learning community is walled off from some interesting Facebook groups, though many of us are members of both. With the announcement of OpenSocial, it seems that social networking has just opened up (to Google’s advantage again) enabling developers on the edges to create and connect.
I’ve found that the information technology community has always been years ahead of the educational technology community. There is little that is technologically innovative in any LMS or VLE that doesn’t already exist in enterprise IT. Ed Tech usually follows Info Tech [it's all about the pedagogy] and I wonder if that means a similar opening up of learning environments, forcing training & education to follow. For instance, Clive Shepherd has been asking for input on Facebook about the use of this platform for learning. Of course, you can’t follow this thread unless you’re a FB user.
If you were investing in educational technology, where would you be putting your money as of today – into a walled garden or an open, worldwide, shared ecosystem? I’ll be interested to see if OpenSocial becomes the learning platform that some thought Facebook could be (as of yesterday) or if there is room for a separate learning-oriented social network.
Update: I like Dave Winer’s not so upbeat perspective on OpenSocial, as well as Dion Hinchcliffe’s Six Essential things you need to know about OpenSocial.