Everyone sends me Facebook requests. I don’t reply since I am not a member of Facebook. I am not a member of Facebook because my sixdegrees, Friendster, MySpace, Plaxo, LinkedIn and countless other memberships have went nowhere. Just because Facebook has a few added bells and whistles, why should I join?
Let’s say that Richard Campbell wears me down (who sends me more requests to join Facebook then my 17 year old god-daughter) and I join Facebook. If I joined I would want to be cool and have 300 “friends” or whatever they call them over there on the first day. It would be cool if I can press a button and my LinkedIn contacts would be imported automatically, or from Plaxo, etc.
Well uber blogger Robert Scoble was trying to do something like that. He was running an alpha feature of Plaxo Plus that went up against Facebook to scrape your contacts. Facebook banned him. Scoble authorized Plaxo to log into Facebook and get his data. It is HIS DATA, yet he got banned for trying to access it via Plaxo. Facebook does not own the data, Robert Scoble does.
This is not the way to start the new year, closing your site to your own users who just want to export their data. Facebook’s api should allow this (it does not allow the export of an email address.) Scoble has since had his account reinstated, but not before comparing himself to Gandhi (please!).
I am sick and tired of not having profile and data portability on the internet. Google has supported the OpenID but that just gets you in the door, what about bringing my data with me or interoperability between different sites. If Richard Campbell is a member of Plaxo and LinkedIn and is my business “pulse“ on Plaxo, he should automatically be my “contact” on LinkedIn if we both agree in a semi-automated way.
So, Facebook should open up! Allow the masses to have data portability. Earlier today Chris Saad from the DataPortability Work Group issued an open invitation to Facebook to join with them in working towards data interoperability. (Note to Facebook: Yahoo, Myspace, and several others are already onboard. )
Data portability will force the social networking sites to differentiate themselves based on features and functionality. It will make the web lots of fun, creating a platform for apps. Facebook can compete not on the data it holds but on its API and how many developers it attracts to create third party apps on the Facebook platform. I have always said that Web 2.0 is web sites as a platform (Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook’s APIs) much like MS DOS was a platform. Web 2.5 is the platform with open data portability standards and single sign-on.
Time to free up the data on the internet. It is yours to begin with.
Bring on Web 2.5!