by Brian Solis
I purposely chose not to write about Facebook’s temporary suspension of Robert Scoble this week because I knew he was testing a Plaxo service that would violate the network’s terms of service.
Plus, there were so many incorrect stories about the events leading up to and following Facebook’s “automatic” move that it was futile to proactively correct everyone.
In summary, people cried that…
- Robert should be able to do whatever he wants, since it’s his contacts anyway.
- Robert shouldn’t have the ability to do anything, since he agreed to the terms of services to use Facebook. And, Facebook is not his company, therefore he either plays by the rules or he leaves the service.
- Empowerment vs. Entitlement and how people need to stop whining and start following the rules. Oh, but if they want to change things, then they should say “why” instead of starting a revolution first.
- Should Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail Block Facebook?
Every post I read seemed to miss the bigger discussion.
First, Scoble didn’t do anything wrong.
It wasn’t until Michael Arrington pointed out that it was actually Plaxo’s fault for triggering Facebook’s response, did people really start to understand the bigger discussion here – who owns “your” social graph?
Enter the DataPortability Work Group, an organization dedicated to the ubiquitous sharing and remixing of data. Basically, this is a movement that is long in the making and just ripe for traction. I can remember Marc Canter among many, many others talking about the need to do something about this way back before Social Media blew up.
So here’s the point.
Yes, there is a revolution brewing over data on the Web as people realize that soon after the honeymoon ends with every new, popular and shiny social network, that there’s inherent value to the relationships that they maintain and cultivate within them and that value is monetized by the host.
Regardless of the terms of service, pushing back, pushes things forward…in a good way.
While users can find unique ways to leverage their visibility, such as creating, promoting and reinforcing an online personal brand, I believe there’s greater value to empowering users rather than virtually imprisoning them.
Because if you can create an extended social graph that is portable, then people can truly leverage the cultures and relationships across multiple networks. That’s the power and promise of social media. Think about the world economy and what it would be like if there were no air travel, bridges, roads, etc. It’s about building global communities that help people discover and share across multiple communities and also feel compelled to share their social graph with their hosts.
It’s just a matter of time.