While discussing Multiply on the Well, I was prompted to spew out my current thinking on digital identity and portable networks and what I wrote earned a “Nice rant, dude” from bumbaugh so I’ve included it here for the archives:
I don’t know why there isn’t a massive open source online presence open- standards- compliant interop project in which we just collectively build tools to hide or expose information about ourselves in whatever manner we need.
If we all just start building out our own online presences and making public or private links to each other, we’ll put all these stupid pocket-SNSes out of business overn[ight], except for maybe PeopleAggregrator which supports this vision and would be helpful providing hosting and standards-compliance to non gearheads once the critical mass of “running code” and broad enough population is reached.
If a business (say, Flickr) can support one’s personal needs without restricting or monopolizing one’s information control, then use it – more power to you, especially if the cost of developing an open or custom or sui generis system may be prohibitive, but surely some geek out there will eventually build any tool enough of us are on the record asking for.
I’d rather dump all my photos in a well thought out, malleable, database as simple to use as a wiki and be given some “must-have and wishlist” features for building views of the photos and controlling permissions then have some of them in photo galleries, self-hosted or hosted by typepad or ofoto or photolog or flickr or multiply or textamerica, etc., etc., and other sitting around in zip files or directories waiting for me to scrapbook them in my copious free time.
In this exact regard, for example, iPhoto is ‘teh suck’ (and exhibits the creeping Microsoft-ization of Apple, but that’s another rant).
No one person needs a big picture of some section of the actual real-world social network any more than we each just need good ways of portraying and updating our own portable personal identities and address books.