Happy First Birthday, Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web!

A mere 12 months ago, the word “open” was being abused to describe proprietary walled garden platforms. There was no “open social” movement. There was no popular outcry for “data portability.” And the big social networks had no plans to let their users take their own data and content with them to other services.

And then, on September 4, 2007, an important document was published to the Web, co-authored by Joseph Smarr of Plaxo, Marc Canter of Broadband Mechanics, and two prominent bloggers, Michael Arrington and Robert Scoble. It was the Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web, and it laid the foundation for the amazing transformation now under way and accelerating.

We publicly assert that all users of the social web are entitled to certain fundamental rights, specifically:

Ownership of their own personal information, including:
their own profile data
the list of people they are connected to
the activity stream of content they create;
Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and
Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites.

To celebrate the first birthday of this influential document, we invited Marc Canter on to our weekly Internet TV show, The Social Web TV. Marc “brought the thunder” (to borrow a phrase from Gary Vaynerchuk). Check it out:

3 thoughts on “Happy First Birthday, Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web!

  1. Lars Hilse says:


    just a brainfart here…. but why don’t we sit down and develop a standard for information? Similar to foaf yet open…. perhaps something like “socialXML”?

    I’m awaiting Plaxo’s invitation to California to guide the project 😉

  2. […] combination of the one year anniversary of the “Bill of Rights for users of Social Media” – and this Portable Contacts release really gets us started in this new school year’ – the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: