It’s begun. There have been rumblings for a while, and lots of good private and semi-public discussions at various events in recent months, whether Mashup Camp, OSCON, or even last weekend’s “We Are All Actors” event in Austin. But now the debate about how to “open up the social graph” has fully emerged into the very public discourse of the blogosphere, starting with this afternoon’s provocative, detailed, and well-written piece by Brad Fitzpatrick (with collaboration and editing by David Recordon), entitled, “Thoughts on the Social Graph.”
Within hours, Plaxo’s Joseph Smarr, one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met, waded in, with this response, entitled “More on social network portability.”
That said, there are some areas of difference between Brad’s proposal and Joseph’s response, primarily around whether there should emerge some non-governmental, non-corporate, non-profit, benificent intermediary that acts as custodian of the social graph, or whether each user should be the owner of their own part of the social graph, their collection of friends lists at various sites.
My own view, not surprisingly (since I work with Joseph at Plaxo), is that the user must be the ultimate authority. Users should demand ownership, control, and portability of their data and their content, including their friends lists — and force the various providers of social web applications to interoperate in a manner that still keeps private what they do not want floating in the commons.
What do you think?