Facebook’s Problem = FSW Opportunity

ReadWriteWeb’s social Blog has an articule up referencing a conversation the author had with Mark Cuban about Facebook’s business model and integrity challenges.

Apparently Facebook is now going to charge brands a huge amount to reach the base of fans they have accumulated on facebook.

I’ve heard anecdotally about a huge brand that was complaining recently because it has spent four years building a following of millions of people, promoting its Facebook presence (and, by implication, Facebook itself) on expensive television ads – and now Facebook has flipped a switch and, overnight, their reach dropped by 40%.

So now they’re done. They’ve been burned, and, like Cuban, they’re looking elsewhere.

A few weeks back I as in a tweeted to a woman complaining how Facebook was shaping which of her friend’s updates she saw and even asking her to pay money to have her updates go to more of her friends. I said that when we had a federated social web she wouldn’t have this problem we would choose which of our friends we would follow and get updates from.

I attended my 3rd out of three federated social web summits last week eek it feels like last week it was 2 weeks ago just after IIW 15. Evan Prodromo pulled together an amazing group of folks working on key aspects of the challenge.

Phil Wolff and I presented about the emerging Personal Cloud offerings coming out of our community of companies (the Personal Data Ecosystem Startup Circle)

Tantek shared POSSE – Publish On your Own Site Syndicate Everywhere.

Even gave an update on where OStatus the stack of protocols that gives you twitter and facebook like functionality across services.

We learned about many other projects. too (you can see them on the wiki here).

I’m glad that folks like Mark Cuban are waking up to the fact there is an issue with Facebook and they should be looking elsewere. Facebook is to social what AOL and Compuserve were to e-mail. It will be disrupted by the Open Standards based infrastructure must of it based on Open Source code. People will have their own personal node on the network – a personal cloud where they will connect to others and to organizations they want to share with, connect with and do business with.

It would be great to see some big investments in core open infrastructure that can then be leveraged to make money afterwards. This is what Doc Searls is always saying you make money because of it not with it.  We need the web to continue extending to being the type that Nobody Owns, Everyone can Use it and Anyone improve it.  Open Standards are the key to this. I argue they are more important then open source code alone (look at diaspora open source but rolled its own way of doing things…and didn’t interoperate with other projects/efforts doing similar things)

If you were to ask me what would get us to the future fastest though it is open source implementations of those open standards are invaluable and what “investors” like Mark Cuban and others who are now seeing the danger of one company “owning” the social profiles and identities of a billion people should consider funding now with no strings attached.

I was asked by an investor group that I gave a day long briefing to about the the emerging Personal Data Ecosystem. I said I would give Evan Prodromo 12 million dollars no strings attached (as in you are not seeking a return on the money with more money) the deliverable for that money would be a working federated social web in 1 year. On that web one can build a huge variety of businesses and services in new ways not possible on today’s web (or at least not possible without creepy stalking and trackers and paying middle men like facebook to talk to your “fans”).  That web itself…shouldn’t be “owned” it needs to be created though.

 

 

 

 

On Identity and Centralization

I was asked for a quote today to comment on F8 developments and the continuing apparent “centralization” of identity on that platform. It is not new for me to say these things but perhaps more crystallized…..

The turning point of the web becoming more social was mentioned several times today.

The issue at hand is fundamentally about FREEDOM: the freedom to choose who hosts your identity online (with the freedom to set up and host your own), the freedom to choose your persona – how you present yourself, what your gender is, your age, your race, your sex, where you are in the world. A prime example of WHY these freedoms are vital is the story of James Chartrand – you can read for yourself her story of being a “him” online as a single mother seeking work as a copy editor. Having a male identity was the way she succeeded.

We did a whole session at She’s Geeky the women’s technology unconference about women, identity and privacy online. ALL the women in that session had between 3-5 personas for different aspects of life and purposes. Many of those personas were ‘ungendered’ or male. I have not talked to many people of color about their online lives and persona management but should. I imagine that like women they choose for some of their persona not to identify racially.

Your “friends” shouldn’t be locked into a particular commercial context. This is where the work on client-side applications for identity management and social coordination for individuals are key. The browser was never designed to do these kinds of functions and I don’t think trying to make it do them is wise.

We need open “friend” standards where people are autonomous, without their identity tied to a commercial silo – like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, or any company. This is a vision of a web where I can “peer friend” my friends, and then no entity has power over our relationship. This requires people to be first-class objects on the web. Not easy to do, but essential for us to figure out.

The Age of Privacy is Over????

ReadWriteWeb has coverage of Zuckerberg’s talk with Arrington at the Crunchies. According to him, the age of Privacy is Over. This is the quote that is just STUNNING:

..we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.

When I first heard it in the interview in the video I did a major double take – “we decided” ?? seriously? The we in that sentence is Facebook and clearly with Zuckerburg is at the helm – He could have said “I decided” and he as the CEO of a social network has the power to “decide” the fate of the privately shared amongst friends in the context of this particular social network for millions of people (see my post about the privacy move violating the contract with users). It makes you wonder if this one platform has too much power and in this example makes the case for a distributed social network where people have their own autonomy to share their information on their own terms and not trust that the company running a platform will not expose their information.

It is clear that Zuckerberg and his team don’t get social norms and how they work – people create social norms with their usage and practices in social space (both online and off).

It is “possible” to change what is available publicly and there for making it normal by flipping a switch and making things that were private public for millions of people, but it is unethical and undermines the trust people have in the network.

I will agree there is an emerging norm that young men working building tools in Silicon Valley have a social norm of “being public about everything”, but they are not everyone. I am looking forward to seeing social tools developed by women and actual community organizers rather then just techno geeks.

I will have more to say on this later this week – I was quite busy Saturday – I ran the Community Leadership Summit, yesterday I flew to DC and today I am running the Open Government Directive Workshop. While I am here I hope to meet with folks about Identity in DC over the next 2 days.

Suicide Options for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

I have another post up on ReadWriteWeb that went up just after Christmas covering people who are choosing to leave Facebook or considering doing so along with the tools to help them.

Fed Up with Facebook Privacy Issues? Here is how to End it All.

It highlights two different Web 2.0 suicide machines; one is an art project called Seppukoo.com .

The service creates a virtual memorial for you and posts you on a suicide wall & they give you points for how many friends you had and how many of them choose to follow you to the “after life”. The leader board is here.  You can see the RIP page for one of the creators of the service - Gionatan Quintini here.

It received a cease and desist from Facebook and responded.

The response is not covered in the article (it wasn’t out when I wrote it). It has some great quotes that sound like language coming from the user-centric identity community.

5. My clients have the right to receive information, ideas, and photographs from those people whom are the legitimate proprietors of this data and can decide to share this data or to store it, with the prior consent of its respective owners. All of this is freedom of expression and the manifestation of thought and free circulation of ideas that is accepted and guaranteed in Europe and in the U.S.A.

6. Facebook cannot order the erasure of data that does not belong to it, acting against the free will of the owners of such data. This is not protection of privacy, but rather a violation of the free will of citizens that can decide freely and for themselves how to arrange their personal sphere.

We shall see how Facebook responds to this.

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is more comprehensive – covering LinkedIn & Twitter as well.

Here is the previous Read Write Web post on the changes in what is and is not public.

IIW is NOT an advocacy group – sigh “the media”

Facebook’s Online Identity War quotes me and labels IIW an advocacy group. IT IS AN INDUSTRY FORUM. Douglas MacMillan.

Sorry but I am still learning “how” to talk to reporters. They don’t like to quote me as “the identity woman” and link to my blog.

I “do” run the Identity Workshop with Phil and Doc but that doesn’t make it an “advocacy group”

Identity Commons & IIW have a purpose and principles believing in user/centric identity. The power of individuals to manage and control their own identities online. We don’t “advocate” for them – we create a convening space for people who want to work on this ideal.

Facebook does on some level “agree” with the idea of user-centric identity – Luke Shepard has participated in the community for quite a while & they hired David Recordon. They sponsor IIW.

I am clear that the opening up of previously controlled information with no warning “jives” with my understanding of user-centric control. It was more from my own point of view I was commenting. That is with my “identity woman” hat on… and the values I carry from Planetwork and the ASN… but the press hates that. Uggg. Chris Messina gets to be an “open web advocate”… that is what I do to but just about identity “open Identity advocate” (mmm…) but then that sounds like “just” OpenID and it isn’t just about that one particular protocol. sigh.

I am still wondering – How does one “belong” and have “titles” in a way the media can GROK when one does not have a formal position in a formal organization.

sigh – identity issues.