SUGGESTION: Make Cyn.in activity streams interwork with Tweetdeck and users on other networks through support for "OStatus"
Many people now keep in touch with their social networks (Twitter/Facebook/Buzz/etc) using mobile or desktop "third-party" client apps like Tweetdeck/Seesmic/Twitdroid/Tweetie/Flipboard etc. These apps make use of disparate APIs from all these services, and focus on making it easy and fun to monitor them all simultaneously, and cross-post where appropriate. The UI experience of these apps goes well beyond anything that the actual social network providers (Facebook/Twitter etc) can support in their "silo'd" native interfaces.
Recently attempts to create open-source versions of such social networking systems (StatusNet, Wordpress, etc) have begun coalescing on OStatus as a standard API for public updates and comments that third party client apps could interwork with, with the promise of two-way management of secured updates and comments to come. Even better, OStatus handles interworking across such systems, using federated (Webfinger) IDs. This means that, eventually, someone logged into their university's own Wordpress system could comment on someone else's post on another university's Status.net system - all using the great UI supported by their favourite third party client app.
In theory, if Cyn.in supported OStatus it could also join this club. This gives users the opportunity to use Cyn.in in the same way that they're already consuming their social web, and could open Cyn.in interactions to a legion of other users who are not even registered within Cyn.in initially, but who are trackable through their Webfinger IDs. BTW Webfinger is currently supported by Google (all "gmail.com" addresses) and Yahoo (apparently). This fits the university model very well, where researchers commonly need to discuss across institutional boundaries.
I accept that this is very hard request to fulfill. OStatus is not yet mature, and is a collection of underlying components that are also not yet mature. However the benefits of keeping track of updates from your own organisation's Cyn.in system alongside the rest of your life (Twitter, FB, etc), and interworking with other networks, would increase usage and usefulness dramatically. For these reasons I think that support for OStatus and/or its components should be considered as part of the long-term direction for Cyn.in.
Some OStatus references:
- http://ostatus.org - "People on different networks following each other"
- http://status.net/2010/03/07/understanding-ostatus - Good introductory blog post.