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How to make social networking on the 360 not suck


Yesterday, a number of features went public for Xbox 360 owners with Gold accounts, including Last.fm, Facebook, and Twitter. Since then I've gotten a chance to play around with them, and as far as Facebook and Twitter go, they're...neat. Unfortunately, that's the only positive adjective that can be used when describing the current capabilities of social networking on the Xbox 360.

However, I think there are certain steps that can be taken to make these features something more than useless. It all lies in integration. Right now, both Twitter and Facebook have to be accessed through the Dashboard, and are completely isolated from the rest of the Xbox LIVE experience. In other words, if I'm playing Modern Warfare 2, and I want to see if anyone replied to something witty I said earlier on Twitter, I can do one of two things. I either have to quit playing Modern Warfare 2, go back to the Dashboard and sign into Twitter, or pause MW2, get off my couch, walk into my room, and pull up my dedicated Twitter tab on Firefox. I can tell you right now I would much rather do the second option. The same scenario can also be applied to Facebook.

This means that the only way Facebook and Twitter could thrive on Xbox LIVE would be to add Xbox Guide access. It would be overkill to make an Xbox notification appear every time you get a new Facebook notification or Twitter reply, I concede that, you wouldn't be able to play a game in peace ever again. However, I believe the optimal situation would be, at any time your Xbox 360 is turned on, you can hit the Guide button, and along with your friends count, party group and message option, you had three bars, one to see your Facebook notifications, one to see all new tweets, and one to see Twitter replies. I wouldn't even expect full feature use from the Guide, just the ability to reply to notifications and tweets, and make new tweets would be enough. If this could be implemented, I would be tempted to never get off the couch again.

As it stands, I am not sure if additions such as the ones I suggested are even possible. However, I really hope they are, as I am almost certain that unless said improvements are made, such features are instantly irrelevant.
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About Coonskin05one of us since 12:29 AM on 05.14.2007

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