Monday, April 27, 2009

All For One But Not One For All

A rocky stream in HawaiiImage via Wikipedia

So Facebook have announced an important step toward greater openness through Facebook Platform. The stream, the core Facebook product experience open at last through the Facebook Open Stream API. Amid all the noise many people have already stated that the social networking site still remains closed due to the extensive privacy controls.
Facebook is still keeping most of its users’ data private due to the privacy contract that it has made with its users. See, over on Twitter and friendfeed the bias for most user data is that it is public by default until you make it private ~ Robert Scoble
Facebook has Twitter envy and imitates popular features from Friendfeed but the privacy contract prevents them providing a transparent service. I don't mind the privacy controls on Facebook, complete openness would make a huge difference but I don't want every aspect visible.

The ability to share/view photos/videos, create events and interact with personal friends isn't really something I want in the public domain. I am not a brand and I don't want to maintain a representation of my online identity as a brand on every website.

Robert Scoble and Marshall Kirkpatrick provide interesting views and analysis about the potential of complete openess. The data that Facebook controls, conversations and social connections, could be used for analysis of real-time social patterns.

The real money is in search, Google have become the largest and most powerful Internet company in world mainly because they are synonymous with search and innovation. Facebook is definitely a marketing gold mine but they need to find the right balance, Beacon was a disaster as most users want the choice to share their information.
The thing is, though, this race makes no sense. Facebook and Twitter are simply two different services that need to co-exist on today's web. The only thing they have in common is that their users have a limited number of hours in the day in which to socialize.

At its core, Facebook is about closed sharing between a group of friends.
~ Alex Iskold
Although Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed have a different approach to openness and the interaction they provide, I want a varying experiences across the Internet. I don't want an individual service that offers everything, I enjoy participating in different networks, communities and forums. Variety is the true open web experience and that is the main reason I have embraced social media. Being involved with the early adopters has introduced me to many new services and startups, providing the conclusion that openness isn't about one vision it's about originality.

What are your thoughts?

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