It will be really interesting to see who embraces this user-centric vision for the future of the social web — and who does not. Will Facebook hear the call and change its ways? And if so, will that happen quickly, or only after a long and painful internal struggle? (Maybe I should put up a poll to see what people think. Gotta figure out a good way to do that.)
I was looking forward to having that discussion on the Social Computing panel at Office 2.0 tomorrow, but Facebook decided not to field a delegate…
Some are questioning whether all this matters, especially if Facebook and others do not jump on board right away. But I don’t see it that way. Joseph is not just another smart guy thinking about the web; he writes code and heads up Plaxo’s platform efforts. He’s recently implemented at Plaxo support for OpenID and microformats, and released to open source a semantically-aware crawler that helps stitch together one’s online identity. The guy is on a mission to open up the social web by making Plaxo the “ultimate mashup.”
So, what should we expect out of all this? First a few companies in addition to Plaxo will embrace the Bill of Rights and implement the four elements of support it outlines. As a result, those sites will be enhanced by user-controlled flow of information between them — and their users will enjoy benefits not previously possible. Then, a few more socially-enabled apps will jump in, hooking up to this emerging “open social web,” and all of the apps will get even better.
We have seen this movie before, in 1994, as the web blossomed, with openness giving rise to a more rapid rate of innovation than is possible inside the walled gardens.