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Who owns my thoughts?

It’s been a year or so (I think) since mybloglog introduced the concept of having our identity (and network) trail behind us as we visited different websites. A site that set up mybloglog would allow visitors to connect with each other beyond simply comments. Not much happened with the concept after the launch. A few blogs added the widget, but I haven’t seen significant adoption. Of course, as Google has learned from Facebook, relationships are more important than content in determining loyalty and commitment to a site or service. While I can happily post on my site, the real value for readers is in the connections they form with other people. Google has to date monetized content with services like adwords. But what do you do to monetize relationships? How do you get people to use your service as a source for forming relationships? Facebook answers with Facebook Connect and Google responds with Friend Connect (their marketing department wasn’t involved in the “let’s give this thing a creative name” discussion).
What does this mean? Do all of our comments belong to Facebook? or Google? I’m personally less concerned with these companies owning my content than I am with their knowledge of my relationships/connections. Facebook in particular is very good at mining data based on relatedness (oh, look, many of George’s friends list these topics of interest…or this political orientation…or religion). Both Facebook and Google desire to know us, not just our content. That’s what doesn’t sit well with me. Oops, gotta go login to Google mail…then off to check my Facebook account.

One Comment

  1. Hi George,
    I wrote a short post exaggerating my point of view a bit, but I think it’s useful to see the other side of the coin, here an excerpt;

    If all of us were sharing personal information with different providers, and these providers are treating this information in a bad way, what will happen? Will we sit back and allow this? Or will we object? I think the latter. And will the providers listen? Will changes occur? New policies created? That, clearly, depends on the number of people objecting. Hence, in order to fight future injustice we should all share our information, our lives, our secrets. In addition, this will also break taboos, and we will be more open to our own and other people’s problems and passions..

    full post: Who cares about privacy?

    Additionally, our software company PEERS considers, unlike the mentioned examples, the user of the platform the owner of his/her content and relationships. All metadata belongs to him/her, and services provided are based on both this metadata and the wishes/criteria of the user.

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 5:20 am | Permalink