The IET, or Institution of Engineering and Technology, is introducing ‘MyIET’, which is a member’s personal portal on the IET website. However, it’s also got status updates like twitter, a discussions and comments forum, etc. It looks like they have tagged some social networking stuff onto the standard account type stuff.
Some context is probably required: The IET is a relatively large professional organisations serving mostly electrical and electronics engineers with a smattering of other technology people. There will, of course, be some networking that takes place within the confines of the Institution.
However, do I really want my activity stream to be confined in MyIET, rather than at identi.ca or twitter? No, is the honest answer, but I also think that what the IET have added to MyIET is symptomatic of a wider issue. Actually, I don’t really want it in twitter either, except that it has the network effect. I’d rather it was in identi.ca.
The issue is silos. MyIET is yet another social networking silo. If you put your data into the MyIET silo can you easily get it out? In this case, the answer is a resounding ‘no’. There doesn’t appear to be any options to export your status feed, comments or other data that you put into the site.
My ideal would be that my activity stream (or status updates) are held at a location of my choosing. They would probably be split into a number of categories, one of which might be IET related or business/professional related. And then I would configure the IET portal to pull my activity stream to it. Then, I would control the activity stream and what I do with it.
This is, of course, a federated social network. Oh, and OneSocialWeb are doing just that.