The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 02:28:33 PM on Wednesday, February 6th, 2008
I came across the link to the blog posting by Nitin on "Data Property Rights, Not Portability" referred by Chris Brogan.  One little part from his posting: not whether web app vendors "allow" me to take my data and go play elsewhere, but whether they "play fair" with my data when it's in the web app.

I agree overwhelmingly with this portion.  However, he goes on to speak of exit and moving our data.  I think that is too far out.  Let me try.

 I have an approach in my head, and it is one of the reasons I am part of the Data Portability working group.  The ownership of data should always lay in the hands of the person, not the vendor.  Here is the basis of my thought.

We spend far too much time populating profiles on numerous sites.  Then along came the profile aggregators that I have reviewed many times on this site.  So they attempt to pull all your meta-data or APML or whatever form into one interface for people to follow.

So here is my theory:
  •  We should have one central, standardized, loose object (pics, videos, meta data, profiles, etc) storage facility
  •  It should be a blackbox data storage where everyone dumps their info
  • Then vendors build frameworks around this same data store to pull data
  • We authorize the vendors to access certain data parts as we see fit
  • They all pick some centralized authentication mechanism like OpenID (don't scream it is an example)
  • We then allow and disallow the who's and what's centrally

What is the added bonus for vendors?  Well what they wrap it with and offer as services around my data.  If I do not like what the vendor does with data or what services they offer, I don't spend time making another profile to find out.  Or I do get involved and they change their path.  No need to remove content I spent tons of time on, I simply remove their authorization and they cannot pull the data to make the interface for me any longer.

I know this simplifies things greatly, but we have to take a different approach then all the social network sites that pop up and try to be the next big thing.  My data is the big thing and centralizing it is the  mission.

  • 1) Data Centralization offers portability (In response to Nitin on Data Property)
    Created by Chris Brogan... at 02/06/2008 7:23:35 PM email | website

    On your first and second point, provided we call the data the same way, it doesn't really have to be all in the same place. Right? That's why we built the web: so we could attach storage and services from any point, provided we could address those points.

    But as for making a system/process by which we dump everything in and then expose as we see fit, I totally love that. For instance, I want some people to see my financial info (eBay, my online bank, Amazon, etc). I want others to see my health info. I want MOST people to see neither of those.

    Of course the thing is, those are two wicked scary things to store and allow vendors to poke around NEAR. So w have to figure out how we're going to deal with that, too.

    Profile info? Fine. When we go a little further into other real-world data we want to store, scary. Or at least... less savory to contemplate the breeches.

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