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The "Data Portability" Hoohah

I wrote this as a comment to Nick O’Neill’s excellent post on the ridiculousness of the recent Gillmor Gang podcast on “Data Portability” between some of the Internet’s most vocal folks:

This is a discussion about protocols. The only difference between talking about “data portability” and email is that SMTP was designed by some geeks in a back room and this one is being designed by some geeks with loud mouths.

The truth of the matter is that they want this “ecosystem” to thrive outside of just Facebook, et al. They want social networking features everywhere because they think that it will make money. But it is truly only an echo chamber thusfar and the users just don’t care.

The fact still remains that no one has yet made a dime on any of this except the founders of these companies and they aren’t likely to any time soon. Protocols are all nice, but until there is a true financial incentive for companies to implement them they are only specifications.

Moreover this discussion is as much about egos as anything. The “Gillmor Gang” is only the tip of the iceberg of folks that think their opinion actually matters. It mostly doesn’t. The “rank and file” users of these services plain don’t care if they can sync Facebook, Myspace and Bebo or even use their profiles off-site. So this is, in my opinion, a bunch of self-important folks talking about nonsense in their ever-expanding fight to remain (become?) relevant.

The Internet is so much more than the sum of its parts or the protocols that it is based on. It is itself a community tool and has been since its inception. This seems to have been forgotten by these folks.

2 Responses to “The "Data Portability" Hoohah”

  1. May 17th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Jason Wehmhoener says:

    Applause!

  2. May 18th, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Ian says:

    Couldn’t agree more, I read a lot of the echoes from the chamber but find myself smiling at the fact that such a tiny % of users can be so knowledgable about what the other 99.99% of users want(should) be doing..

    EVERY single time I talk to one of my non-geek friends about the latest trend or idea they tell me a) who the hell does that and b) why the hell would I want to do that

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