Social networking firms must be shown the need to break down "walled gardens"
SAN DIEGO -- Some of the technical barriers to data portability in the Web 2.0 world are gradually being chipped away. However, said members of a panel at the O'Reilly Graphing Social Patterns West 2008 conference here today, many social networking firms must still be convinced of the benefits of opening their "walled garden" business models and users must be educated about the advantages of data portability.
Data portability, or the ability to easily transfer data created on one social networking site to another site, came to the forefront early this year when a prominent tech blogger was kicked off Facebook for trying to export his contact list.
Since then, companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft have joined the Data Portability Initiative, which was formed to create a blueprint for Web 2.0 data portability.
"The Web is becoming social, [and] all these applications are realizing that knowing more about who you are and who you know is a very powerful lens and filtering and discovery mechanism," said panelist Joseph Smarr, chief platform architect at social networking firm Plaxo Inc. "There is clearly this desire to go to the next level where as a user you can try a new site …and find out who you know and who you want to connect with [there]."