There have been many conversations about 'social federation' over the last couple of years and organisations like Vodafone and Diaspora have tried to push out technology pieces that deliver on this, both using XMPP.
There are some other pointers to XMPP as being the preferred underlying technology that could give us 'social federation', the use of this protocol by Facebook, Google, and many other 'chat' platforms that run alongside web (HTTP) based social tools.
If you look at well known microblogging services they've both dabbled with XMPP, Twitter up until mid 2009, but they failed to grasp the correct way to deploy large scale XMPP services and Status.net who still use XMPP.
Other companies using XMPP natively or as connectors into their data streams are for example;
- Jaiku, Friendfeed, GitHub etc
I'm not saying that XMPP is THE technology stack that will deliver federated social solutions but it's got most of what we need;
- IETF standardisation
- Security (inc built in anti-spam measures)
- Extensibility (via XML)
- A rich technology and skills ecosystem
It took email awhile to federate and IM only achieved this via XMPP in 2004 so I guess there's scope for a few more years of startups attempting to 'land grab' using their own proprietary tech (e.g. Twitter) before everyone falls in line behind XMPP, or something better.
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