A year or two ago if you had asked me what the most social tool that I was using, I would have said instant messaging (IM) software. I used ICQ, MSN (now Windows Live Messenger), and Google Talk to communicate with learners, colleagues, and friends. Thing was, I used all three separately, and had separate lists of contacts on each application.
But that changed with Meebo which allows me to have one single interface regardless of the IM client I was using - I broke down the IM silos (there is also Trillian, but it is an application that needs to be installed on individual computers - not quite as portable as Meebo). With Meebo I can be on a PC or Mac, and I can be in just any type of Web browser or device - universal chat - it has significantly expanded the IM horizon for me, extending the life and application of IM as a social tool that I can use.
But I am not using IM much these days (although with Meebo and now iChat in OS X Leopard I may be using it more...) my main social networking tools these days are social networking sites - the ones I use on a regular basis include Facebook, LinkedIn, Bebo, Orkut, EduSpaces (ELGG), Ning, and Google Groups (not to mention my blogs and wikis). that's seven different clients, all Web browser-based, but all with their own interface, own friends list, and own way of doing things. None of them can talk to each other - social networking silos.
We need a Meebo for social networking sites - a killer application that will allow me to communicate with all my fiends across all seven of the social networking sites that I now use - a completely transparent experience that will simply let me be social, not have to worry about what friend is on what service - that would be true social networking. As social networking continues to be a big part of people's online lives and becomes a bigger component of education, we need to be able to break down the silos of proprietary applications and interfaces and simply get people networking.
According to Wikipedia, there are currently 116 (and counting) different social networking Web sites - so if there is someone out there thinking that they would like to create the next great application, start thinking about a Meebo for social networking...