Aug 17, 2007

Michael Geist: Pull down the walled gardens

"The irony of the current generation of online social networks is that although their premise is leveraging the internet to connect people, their own lack of interconnectedness is stifling their potential.

Some services may believe that it is in their economic interest to stick to a walled garden approach; however, given the global divisions within the social networking world, the mix of language, user preferences, and network effects, it is unlikely that one or two services will capture the global marketplace. The better approach - for users and the sites themselves - would be to work towards a world of interoperable social networking."

This is the conclusion by Michael Geist in an article on BBC News with the headline " Pull down the walled gardens". He is of course 100% right in this statement. If they give it a second thought the companies behind the big social networks will realize that it will be in their own interest to tare down the walls around their gardens.

In the same article Geist also mentions some initiatives to promote interoperability, namely the Liberty Alliance and Project Higgins, which "are two privacy-focused identity management initiatives that claim to provide users with the ability to manage their personal information across social networks in a secure and trusted manner". I will investigate these project further and them to the list of Web 2.1 initiatives.

BBC News: Pull down the walled gardens
Michael Geist's blog:

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.

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