How do you decide which social networking site to join? Do you join several and repeat the work? If you are like me, you are being bombarded by emails from networking sites (LinkedIn, Dopplr, Plaxo, Facebook, MySpace, Hyves, Spock, Tripit, …) telling you that someone wants to be your friend or business contact. What happens if having joined your social network it closes down, or loses its backups, or closes your account because your account got hacked, or because you inadvertently broke the terms of service (things all of which have happened in the past): all your work, and contacts are lost. But you created all that data! It’s yours, not someone else’s to decide if you can have it or not.
New technologies are coming on-stream that would allow us to arrange our social networks in different ways so that the data belongs to you. It won’t prevent sites like Facebook or Myspace from existing, but it will allow you to decide what to do with your data, and allow you to multi-purpose it. In fact the techniques would apply to all Web 2.0 sites, not just social networking sites, allowing you to integrate any sort of data into your social networks, and not just the data formats that particular social sites accept. So you would no longer need one network for your travel plans, another for your friends, another for your business contacts, and so on. It would even allow you to own your comments on blog sites, and your reviews on Amazon.
This talk will discuss and explain the new technologies, and contemplate how we might adopt them, and how they may affect our interactions online.
Steven Pemberton is a senior researcher at the CWI, Amsterdam, the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science. He has been involved with the Web from the beginning, organising two workshops at the first WWW conference in 1994, and chairing the first Style Sheets Workshop in 1995. He has chaired the World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML and Forms Working Groups, and is co-author of amongst others HTML, CSS, XHTML and XForms. He is also the former editor-in-chief of SIGCHI Bulletin and ACM/interactions and one of the founders of chi.nl.
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