Before laying out this idea, I just want to put it out there that I’m just as against “big brother” as anyone else out there. There are probably thousands of reasons why this couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, but that’s how every massive shift in society has started, so why not?
The internet. Virtually everyone I know has been on it, you’re on it right now. My issue with it is that despite connecting everything and everyone, the internet is incredibly disconnected. I regularly run 4-5 chat clients, I was – until recently – a member of two social networking sites, I have three e-mail addresses (that I remember), and I’m a member to 50+ sites. That’s too much. Too many passwords, too many usernames, too many quirky details in too many “About Me” sections. Google has already begun to answer my question, but the work is not nearly done: Why don’t we centralize the internet? I realize the capitalist nature of the whole thing makes for constant improvement, and that is a very good argument against centralizing everything. But what if we just centralized usernames? What if I could be known as “Mr. Dobbs” across the board? That way, my community comes with me wherever I go, but Skype and iChat could still battle it out with their video functions and MySpace could still pretend to have a chance against Facebook. I wouldn’t have to start a blog here and then post it on my facebook and twitter and AIM profile and MSN and skype… you get it. My exclusive username could do it all for me.
Or: Why can’t we pick and choose? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could take all of your favorite technological features and combine them into one super-utility? I like video chat on skype, I like the format of gmail, I like the music pages from myspace, I like the layouts on facebook, I like the organization tools of WordPress but the appearance of blogspot. Why can’t we have it all? Make all of these seperate ventures either try to beat out the competition in every way (google style) or specialize and become really good at one thing (Yahoo! Answers)
In a world of convenience, I’ve had to memorize an awful lot of passwords and usernames. Why don’t we centralize?
Update: Google just announced their new communication and collaboration tool “Wave” which accomplishes a lot of what I was talking about in my original post. This will be cool!