The State of the Art
Today's social data is being contorted to fit a delivery and formatting landscape that doesn't map well to the behavioral needs end users prefer. This is often the case when a platform becomes established over time; people find new ways to leverage it, even if sacrifices must be made in order to do so. Illustrating the major underpinnings of today's framework is the best way to describe this contorted leverage.
There are many ways to connect two sockets together and move data between them. However, for the foreseeable future, there is only one that matters: HTTP. There will always be specialized cases wherein more performant protocols can be used to optimize data transmission for said special case, but HTTP is ubiquitous, and has punched more holes in more firewalls, across Earth and its satellites, than anything else. Therefore, it is the one. If something can't be done over HTTP, that something needs to be reconsidered. To illustrate this point, consider consumer electronic devices. Many of them are cool, but only the amazing devices have HTTP clients on them (e.g., iPhone, or Android-based devices). Truly amazing devices have HTTP servers on them as well (Nokia's S60 can run an HTTP server). As with any good rule, there are exceptions. HTTP is both state-less and heavyweight, and both of these traits can get in the way when you're trying to do things that need to be fast and state-full. The following protocols exemplify the kind of exceptions I'm ...