I've used this chart publicly since the E2.0 June 2009 event when I ran a workshop on enterprise social networking, but the trend is true in general (from destination site, to networked services) as platforms create ecosystems (re: recent news on Salesforce, LinkedIn, etc). The roots of this perhaps go back to an old post by Marc Andreessen in 2007 on platforms and ecosystems. My voice over on this slide was that we would not see comprehensive social networking platforms until 2012. I could be too conservative on the timeline (maybe not, lets see how robust and mature these solutions are when they finally appear and gain critical mass).
However, this trend from destination site to networked services around a platform-centric model does not belong to the brilliance of any single vendor, it's inevitable if vendors want to survive. The remaining challenge (well, one of a few) - interoperability (standards at various levels, especially in the social data / graph area). You can have lock in very easy (per points often made by Chris Messina, David Recordon, Joseph Smarr) when it comes to accrual of data, owning of the namespace, and use of non-standard formats should be as much of a concern externally on the public social web as internally within the enterprise.
Evolution of enterprise social networking:
LinkedIn expands platform in attempt to one-up Facebook Connect | VentureBeat
The Mountain View, Calif.-based professional networking site already offers a platform for third-party developers, allowing them to build widgets and apps that run in LinkedIn itself. What it’s announcing today is another piece of that platform, one that’s arguably more exciting — the site is allowing developers to access your LinkedIn data from their own external business applications. The idea is that LinkedIn could become your professional identity across applications, in the same way Facebook wants Facebook Connect to be your social identity across the web.
“We’re very opinionated,” said Adam Nash, vice president of search and platform products. “We believe that any business application that someone builds in 2010 that doesn’t integrate with us is going to be an anachronism.”
You can get some sense of what LinkedIn has in mind with already-announced integrations like its Social Connector in Microsoft’s email and contacts program Outlook. LinkedIn is adding new partners today, including Twitter application TweetDeck, simple blogging startup Posterous, and BT-owned voice-over-Internet company Ribbit. Other application-makers can now register at the developer site.
LinkedIn Development Platform Comes to Life
LinkedIn Nov. 23 followed through on its plans to launch a development platform, opening Developer.linkedin.com to let softwareprogrammers put LinkedIn's profile content into their business applications and Web sites. Microsoft is using LinkedIn to add profile information to Microsoft Office 2010 e-mail users with the Outlook Social Connector. Twitter application TweetDeck will support the LinkedIn platform in its next version, allowing TweetDeck users to access their LinkedIn network updates from within TweetDeck, which will add a LinkedIn column.
This morning, professional social network LinkedIn announced that it is opening up its API for developers to build applications around the platform. While LinkedIn has partnered with Twitter, Microsoft, IBM, Research In Motion and others, this will be the first time startups can tap into the platform.
While LinkedIn is releasing 11 different APIs, they fall into three distinct categories. First, developers will be able to let users easily access their information, profiles, connections and messages via oAuth login. The second functionality is to give users the ability to make actionable decisions about information, but letting them message their LinkedIn contacts, post updates, accept contacts and more. And the third piece of the puzzle is search. So developers will now be able to embed LinkedIn search in other applications.