It is really great to see how the topic of data portability and opening up of the Social Web has come to the forefront, as if a revolution were fomenting. I welcome back to the blogosphere, Dare Obasanjo, with a cogent assessment of the recent announcements from Google, Facebook, and MySpace. And I was totally jazzed by tonight’s (as always) irreverent post by Dave “500 Hats” McClure, focused on the *real issue* of the portability of one’s true local piece of the social graph, that short list of people I really know and care about.
This all follows in the wake of a riveting Gillmor Gang of Friday morning, in which Michael Arrington, Robert Scoble, Steve Gillmor, Marc Canter, Chris Saad, and others beat each other up over the (important) nuances around who owns what data and what can/should be portable to where.
As my readers know, I am a staunch and perhaps extreme supporter of the notions behind the Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web, co-authored by Plaxo’s Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Michael Arrington, and Robert Scoble.
But you may not know that I am really keenly interested in the real-world realtionships, not the early adopter, blogger-follow-blogger version of the Social Web. I was juiced to see Dave McClure say in such colorful language what he was looking for:
what I DO WANT:
popup the MOST RELEVANT 5-10 peeps who meet certain key criteria
use an intelligent combination of shared interests & messaging frequency to figure out who these “TOP” friends are (for the given context)
let me select 1-3 of them to invite & checkout an awesome i just found
In many ways, that is exactly what I and the rest of the team at Plaxo [disclosure/reminder: I head up marketing there] have been focused on the past year with Pulse. We are *not* trying to create another place for you to meet friends-of-friends or business-connections-of-business-connections. Indeed, we are keen on unlocking the value of making “social media” a shared experience for you and your family, real friends, and tight connections in business (such as your co-workers). And it is that “local piece of your true social graph” that we want to set free (under your control).
And, also note Dave’s brilliant spin on viral: instead of focusing on “let me invite you to yet another service,” there is a key twist, which is to focus on the content. At Plaxo, we call this “super-sharing,” the notion of being able to share a collection of photos, a link, a video, a poll, or just about anything with absolutely anyone — regardless of whether they are a member of the service or not! We’re three-quarters of the way toward that vision, and it is a much more compelling way of interesting non-members in a social media service.
In my view, we enter a really exciting time, as all of the social networks and big Internet companies are racing to out-open each other. In such a flat world of the Social Web, where will real value be created? For sure, it will come from which provider has the most genuine, well-articulated (family vs. friend vs. business), and portable social graph.
In other words, I welcome the open competition of the coming “social graph wars.” Who will win? A billion mainstream Internet users all over the planet!
P.S. I agree with Marc Canter that Microsoft is making some great moves with regard to data portability:
It’s GREAT to see Dare Obasanjo blogging again! He groks the three vaporware announcements and analyzes it in his own unique grok-ed-ness. This dude rocks. His homeboy Angus Logan also rocks and made it clear at DSS2 that MICROSOFT is the only platform that enables one to TAKE THEIR DATA with them! Right on to Dare and Angus and Inder – and their boos Mr. Treadwell! Way to act contrarian dudes!