Marc, the Man Who Cried More Open Social

In a declaration marked by his characteristic passive-aggressiveness, Marc Canter is predicting big changes for social networking in 2008. Canter’s swaggering aside, the man knows a thing or two about social networks. It was almost 18 months ago when he started talking about how social networks will become a feature of many web apps; it took me a lot longer to figure that one out. He is being similarly astute in his 2008 outlook.

Canter, who runs an often overlooked social software company called Broadband Mechanics, believes social networks will become more open in 2008, and the world at large will come to realize the benefits of interoperability between various nets.

OpenID2, oAuth and APML – are the names of the standards which we’ll be using to build this inter-connected mesh. … So 2008 will see a growth in the ability of end-users to freely move between networks – taking their social graphs with them.

Canter is right on the money. Just as IM networks went from being silos to loose federations, so much social nets. Remember when mobile carriers got their SMS systems to interoperate? The usage exploded and everyone made money — never mind the millions of somewhat happy customers.

Canter also predicts that digital life aggregators will be big in 2008.

..this is a term I use to refer to Portals 2.0. This is what NetVibes is, iGoogle and what AOL and Microsoft are doing. Facebook is redefining DLAs and MySpace has their own notion as well. The best part of DLAs is that they’re not set in stone and that each vendor can add their own twist, feature set and attitude towards them, while still adhering to the principles of the idea.

In his end-of-the-year update, he lets us know that he has raised $400,000 in angel money, has at least eight live social networks using his software (which he also offers as a service) and is currently working with Bell Canada on an experimental social network.

White labeling gives us an opportunity to build a stable, profitable business not beholden upon VC funding which of course will make us a great investment for some large institution or private equity fund.

Did I mention he was passive-aggressive?