Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why #Facebook, #Plaxo, #LinkedIn ...

A Facebook friend send me an invitation for new functionality. If anything, it is the last thing I am interested in.. Maybe not, it rates with FarmVille as a time waster.

Actually Facebook itself is very much a timesink. I tried it for some time but now I wish only for some of the nice bits to improve the whole Wiki experience.

I am GerardM some 460 times in the Wikimedia projects, I am registered as GerardM in many Wikia wikis, many other wikis. I wish they all allowed for OpenID so that I could manage my password once and well. I wish for a central place where I can assemble a public profile as well as maintain my private information. Such information could consist of bits and pieces from everywhere; as it is my persona that is fractured in what Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and many others publicly state about me. They mash all this for their private use anyway, why not have me make a mash out of it?

There are also these new functionalities where it makes sense to REALLY restrict who knows or may know... where I am for instance, it is not an invite to be burgled. I do want to control access to the people I trust but I do not care what applications they use, as long as these do not leak.

This is where Facebook has a problem; it has earned its reputation that they are cavalier with other people's data. They are leeches; it is their audacity that makes them "own" the private data of their clients so that they can sell it to their customers.

I would not mind aggravating Facebook's problems by federating information and profiles and only share what needs to be shared when it needs to be shared. Consider a game like Farmville in such a network.. When it is hot, it is available.. you spend your time and money without a Facebook overhead. It is for Facebook to add value and I find it wanting.
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