Facebook? Silicon Valley can do better.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Silicon Valley!
@ahaislip discusses the fact that Facebook exists to enrich itself, not expand humankind's knowledge or some other world-improving mission.
We've heard this argument in many forms, from the Cloudera founder lamenting that the greatest minds of our generation waste their talent getting people to click ads, to @bakadesuyo pointing out that we all work for Facebook as unpaid contributors.
It really makes me think of PandaWhale's mission as a variation of expanding the world's publicly available knowledge:
PandaWhale's mission: Expand the (public) Web through social saving.
Anything anyone puts on PandaWhale is available for the world to see, learn from, interact with, and contribute to.
PandaWhale is built to add value to the Web, and we will keep adding more useful tools to do so.
I agree that Silicon Valley can do better. PandaWhale will do its part to make it so.
Adam Penenberg writes, "Facebook logs every word you type, copies every photo you upload and every video you watch, and stores every song you hear. It notes every comment, counts every ‘like,’ collates every interest, transcribes every message, eavesdrops on every chat, tallies every click...
"Facebook does all this for one simple reason: so it can match you with the perfect advertisement. Because when you get down to it, Facebook wants to sell you shit..."
Silicon Valley can do better. And may be Silicon Alley can help?
There are degrees between 100% public and 100% private data and Facebook filled the need for sharing somewhere in between these two extremes. Facebook's "friends" network as a model for limiting the data exchange is certainly imperfect. We have local, family, work, business, purchasing, professional, hobbyist, spiritual and other connections which have not yet been ported online in a structured way and Facebook's model is too simplistic for them. They can keep slicing friends into circles, following G+ cues and see if that pans out. Meanwhile their current success will inspire entrepreneurs to reinvent the whole industries by porting other forms of relationships online.
It may begin this way: a form of a different open graph will emerge, as a shared data space for the apps. These new apps will not have disconnected user bases, disjoint data generated by users, fragmented app developers and community efforts, etc. Apps that work mostly on the private part of the spectrum will shift more towards the public side, which will open massive opportunities. Second Life Virtual World and its economy give us a hint on how apps could work and compete in one shared space. If you like this cool aid, keep drinking it http://urbien.com/v/Article/32708 and may be you get inspired to help bring this about.
Facebook would say that shared data space should exist inside Facebook.
Is that compatible with what you're saying?
Right, but only with the limited number of object types, which they host - people, friends, photos, videos, likes, statuses, places, checkins... Apps participating today in Facebook's Open Graph keep most of their data outside the Open Graph. Thus data belongs to the app, not the user. Even with the Timeline Apps, original third-party objects sit at their respective sites, for each of them a Facebook Page is created and actions on them get pumped to Facebook. This is definitely a huge step forward, but these Pages are not full objects, and can not become the data store for the apps. The data sitting on third-party sites is fine by itself, as long as they can be shared and accessed uniformly - so far this exists only in the Semantic Web dream. The closest to that dream is a shared open data store. The Open Data trend of local, state and federal governments can actually be a catalyst for such a store. The city of New York just issued a law to open all its data.
Many third-party sites have APIs for accessing their data -- for example, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and even Facebook.
What more needs to be done to serve an "Open" Open Graph?
Adam, I am working on slide deck for a city government on this subject. As soon as I am done, I will post a link.