At our recent Social Media Summit, in a break out session with Marti Hearst, Joanna Robinson and others, the topic of the open social network came up: who owns the network implicit in Facebook, what happens if LinkedIn evaporates, etc. The institutional nature of these systems represent an obvious single point of failure as well as subjects for discussions around ownership.
The cloud is a term that is used to indicate data and services being out there, somewhere – limitless but possibly beyond our control.
Now, imagine a different architecture, one in which our identities are tied intimately to a mobile device that we carry around, and the device is actually an active node in the network. It not only stores your data (your own social network) but also acts as a server for that information (according to appropriate policies). This would remove the risk of the single point of failure and the problems of social graph ownership.