The IM client I currently use, Pidgin, lets you log into multiple chat networks simultaneously. You can group different accounts for a specific friend, so that their AIM, GTalk, Jabber, etc all appear as one person on your buddy list. It’s a beautiful, program that seamlessly integrates all your IM contacts into one place. Now what does this have to do with WOW, you may ask?
Imagine a world where you could log into a single application and talk to your friends using Battle.net, Steam, XBox Live, and any other gaming network. You could group different accounts for a friend into a single entity – or maybe it even does it for you. If you like playing with certain people in WOW, you’d probably be thrilled to find out that they have a Steam account – but keeping the accounts and usernames and characters all straight is an enormous hassle. This magical application would fix that problem.
I grew excited thinking about this idea, and went further with my daydream. What if this application could combine more things together? What if it integrated things like normal IM services, and Facebook, and Twitter…? You could have one online persona, combining all your various social networking services into one place. You would have a single online identity, and could tie various accounts together – and anyone who used this same application could see them. They’d only have to add you as a friend once, and could get to your Twitter page, your blogs, your WOW characters, etc by right-clicking on your name on their friends list.
I got lost in this fantasy world, where I didn’t have to hunt around to keep track of friends and all their various nicknames. A world where you could see a whole person’s online presence in one place. Right now everything is so fragmented. There are so many different forms of online communication that its becoming overwhelming. Each social network has its own specific niche, its own strengths and weaknesses. This magical program would allow you to utilize them all in the way that serves you best. When people migrate from one network to another, you could still keep in touch with them easily…
Alas, this application does not exist. I am a programmer, but I certainly don’t have the time or the skill to bring such a wonderful thing into existence. There are plenty of barriers – you would need Blizzard, Steam, Microsoft, etc to open up their API’s to utilize. There are plenty of other problems I can’t even come up with yet.
But wouldn’t it be nice?