November 29, 2007

Fascination with the Middle

I posted the following entry in my other blog that is focused on EnThinnai. As in Telephony, people are recognizing the importance of not ceding control in social networking to third parties. It is surprising that in Netheads are introducing “Intelligent Middles”, just as they take pleasure in poking Bellheads for the same. All my friends in the VoIP industry will, even in their sleep, instinctively recognize intrusion of the Middle; but they are walking into one in the form of social networks. It is a bit disheartening.

Facebook Backlash

We read more and more stories of users expressing concern about Facebook’s recent ad program called Beacon that monitors users’ activities at partners’ sites and report the friends in Facebook. Some are concerned that friends are notified indiscriminately and others do not want even Facebook to be notified by the partner sites in the first place. People expressing concern spans the full spectrum of technical capability and or disposition.

Martin Geddes wonders how to balance the need of his privacy sensitive mother to stay in touch with former colleagues, with the fact that Facebook is a “serial privacy violator”. Business Week states that “Some threatened to move to other social networks or start their own blogs if Facebook takes that decision out of their hands.” As an example, it quotes Matt Flaschen, a Georgia Tech sophomore as saying, "I will set up my own blog. It is a little less convenient, but if [Facebook] can't understand the privacy implications of what they are doing then it's not worth it."

Then there is Matt Mower, who goes to the heart of the matter. In a recent post he states: “I think Facebook and the rest have gotten an overinflated view of their importance to us. What, after all, do they actually do? They run a website with some gadgets on it. … Nothing about their site is particularly rocket science or even innovative. … But, as with blogging, I believe we don’t need large corporations to do social networking and, in bringing the network back under our control, we gain benefits and protection from interests other than our own.”

Right on Matt. We are in agreement. Indeed EnThinnai is an example how it can be done without ceding control to an external party. But we need encouragement and support.

Posted by aswath at November 29, 2007 03:55 PM
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