Sunday, April 12, 2009

Open garden social networking vs. walled gardens

I am truly tired of social networking sites that are walled gardens, requiring some form of registration and holding my personal data hostage by maintaining it behind the walls of the "walled garden." What is the alternative? Is there an alternative? No, there is no alternative currently, but in the longer term we can hope that developers and entrepreneurs will recognize that open garden networks have distinct advantages over walled gardens.

The esence of an open garden social network is that users maintain their data wherever they want as long as it can be crawled by whatever sites wish to aggregate that data. Since the data is maintained publicly, it can easily be shared by more than one social networking aggregator.

The immediate technical obstacles are that: 1) the average consumer has no obvious public location to store their data and 2) we do not have a technology and public infrastructure in place for consumers to "sign" their personal data to associate it with their digital identity.

Who knows, maybe open garden social networking will take off in another five or ten years.

One of the key benefits of open garden personal data is that it will open up vast new opportunities for innovation in open garden social media since each innovator can piggyback on the existing (in the future) public open garden infrastructure rather than need to go through the time and expense of reinventing the wheel unnecessarily for each new social networking aggregator site.

-- Jack Krupansky

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