My Photo

« The End of PageRank | Main | Techmeme, Memeorandum's Most Discussed »

August 02, 2008



I've thought about this too, and hope the model shifts to a user-held one as you suggest. The model would change not only how social networking operates, but also other very popular applications such as auctions. For instance, your device (or your chosen storage solution in the cloud) would store the items you have for sale along with data on items you've bid on. You'd find and list items via a p2p process, just as people find files to download now.

It may also transform online retail. You would store your own user/transaction data, and allow stores to access it (with anonymisation, if you want) to offer you recommendations and deals or to complete a transaction on an 'as need' basis. If you could be sure you were in control of your data, you might be more willing to have your profile know what you do and don't own, what you are shopping for (universal wishlist), etc. etc. Businesses could use this to be much smarter in their interactions with you, but without holding on to data you consider to be sensitive.

Very exciting.


Matthew, not to be too facetious, but such a device already exists. It's called the laptop computer. It serves, in a physical way, exactly the function you outline. My gut reaction to your larger question is that the people who make the institutions own them until they abdicate that role because they've gotten what they wanted out of their creation -- and then, nobody owns it, but people who care keep it up. The situation is analogous to the settling of America by the English companies of yore. You can own a plantation, but you can't own a town. When a plantation becomes a town, the expectations of the members change. If you put your junk on Linkedin, you've pretty much agreed for that junk to be used in ways you didn't intend by the very process of how the thing works. Back in the paper-poor dark ages, people used the yellow pages for all sorts of things, for instance. What you get back is useful professional or personal contact, I guess. I think web privacy discussion is often fueled by people who pour out their private info enthusiastically and then want most of it back after the mood passes. In other words, people who want to define their own mistake away -- as corporate malfeasance or some such. The great guarantor of security is the fact that most companies and governments really don't want to know more than a few data points about you at any given moment, and even that eventually gets lost in ineptitude. I wonder if governments or institutions really get good at modeling individual responses some day, if the models will get together and demand rights? I would. And so I guess my data model would, too, if he was well-constructed.


after reading darkcoffee's comment I feel that the people participating so transparently and openly on social networks are like lambs running towards digital slaughter. (myself included) The one certain rule of data collection is that it will be miss used.

On the other side the benefits of tactical and and measured usage the participation in the social web are significant. I assume we all know that this will be semantically parsed and profiled at sometime but we participate just the same.


Matthew, not to be too facetious, but such a device already exists. It's called the laptop computer. It serves, in a physical way, exactly the function you outline.

Actually, no. A laptop isn't enough, by itself. You need the proper software, architected in the proper way, for this to work. And I think that's his point: We need to architect our systems to run on endpoints like laptops.

I've actually been saying something similar, myself, for years. If you go back to the development of the architecture of the internet itself, look at what some of the early folks that developed TCP/IP were saying, you'll see that the overriding philosophy is "dumb network, smart end nodes". That's what allowed the internet to succeed in the first place.

Cloud computing turns this around, and says "smart network, dumb end nodes". To me, cloud computing is anti-internet, at least at its philosophical core.


A too dark approuch, still social networks are either overrated or underestimated. Only the future can tell.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    March 2016

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3 4 5
    6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    13 14 15 16 17 18 19
    20 21 22 23 24 25 26
    27 28 29 30 31    


    Blog powered by Typepad