Slap in the Facebook: It's Time for Social Networks to Open Up

Like locked cell phones and copy-protected music, Facebook is on the wrong side of the open-network debate. Facebook is a sealed bubble. Facebook users are locked into Facebook, just as iTunes locks music fans to Apple’s iPod.



This serves companies’ business interests, but not the wider interests of consumers.



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At this point, “friend” relationships remain unique to the social networks. The web still lacks a generalized way to convey relationships between people’s identities on the internet. The absence of this secret sauce — an underlying framework that connects “friends” and establishes trust relationships between peers — is what gave rise to social networks in the first place. –Scott GilbertsonSlap in the Facebook: It’s Time for Social Networks to Open Up (Wired)

I couldn’t have said it better. This is why I have no particular desire to use a fenced-in system. Yes, I have my students blog with MovableType, but the software is free for private users.



Having said that, I realize that the appeal for some people is precisely that they can share their information with a small group of friends, but all it takes is for one friend to squeal.



I also confess to feeling a bit uncomfortable at the prospect of contacting a researcher whose work I find useful, and telling them I want to be his or her “friend”. In the clinically hierarchical world of academia, even “colleague” might be presumptuous.