AN OPEN LETTER TO THE WEB, regarding all this "Social Graph" buzzword bingo:
My connections are not yet another resource to be strip-mined; my
relationships are not intended to be the impetus for your next Bre-X
adventure. Facebook and now, allegedly, Google are finding more and
more ways to give unfettered access to the "connections" I’ve
On a pragmatic note, I’m far from the least-connected person out
there. I’ve had the good fortune to connect with many people at a
more-than-superficial level over the past couple of decades in the Real
World. As such, I am happy to accept the LinkedIn and Facebook bacn
as it comes across the wire from those with whom I’ve had
interactions. I see accepting these requests as a form of social
grooming. It’s as much reciprocal validation as anything.
But it needs to be an individual decision to share this information. (Ross is trying to find a way to get IP protection on his information, for example.)
The thing that’s missing from the majority of the social networking
conversations I’ve seen and been involved in over the past few years is
that the importance of context
is almost never mentioned. My connections all have a context to them
(and the others to whom I’m connected my have a different context from
My attributes also have a context; you may not
care about what I had for dinner last night, but a cardiologist (or
officemate!) might place a great deal of importance on that information.
So we need to be thinking about the context in all of these conversations.
Developers, designers, futurists, users…I pose you a question. When you look out ten years, do you want to be in Minority Report or the Global Village?
Make your decision.
Then make it happen.
Half Moon Bay, California
September 21, 2007