The Wall Street Journal is reporting Facebook will open up most if not all of their user-contributed data to developers at a developer event tomorrow. This has been long expected and will likely trigger a wave of third-party integration of Facebook streams with other popular feeds, most notably that of Twitter.
Should players such as Seesmic Desktop and FriendFeed roll out an integrated service, we will be a major step closer to a single stream of realtime events. This in turn will rapidly accelerate a convergence around micromessaging similar to the one around email when it achieved a critical mass following AOL’s opening up of the limited educational and government mail systems to average users.
Already the emotional reaction to the possibility of a swine flu pandemic has pushed Facebook back into the spotlight as people contact their family and friends over the private/public channel. While trying to track down a friend I missed chatting with this weekend at a live performance, someone used Facebook chat to ask what I thought about a Flu Emergency preparation list he’d compiled. Events were moving so fast that he published it before I could respond, but the tools will prove superior to Twitter direct messages, which have been intermittent in recent days according to some reports.
While Twitter has tremendous advantages for newbies, the depth of Facebook and FriendFeed is more and more valuable as we rely on these networks for fail-over instant communications. FriendFeed’s realtime direct messages will likely be duplicated in short order by Facebook, and the opportunity for meshing Facebook and Twitter together will prove irresistible to the hot Twitter client market, what with Tweetie for the Mac synchronizing with its leading iPhone app.
The debate on the network is between Dave WIner, who sees a thousand Twitters, and Jason Calacanis who says Twitter is dialtone. Tomorrow’s announcement suggests something between those two views, with a single aggregated feed managed by two or more of the players in a distributed cross-licensing model. Twitter will continue to own the celebrity growth, but those who look to harness this realtime platform for business and personal networking will quickly adopt the more powerful tools now available at FriendFeed and coming online from Facebook and perhaps Google.