Facebook as a Walled Garden
This is a very interesting post by Jeff Atwood about Facebook as a walled garden.
What is the open and public equivalent of social networks? It seems like it's some kind of future where everybody has their own "site," or network address or place that comprises blog, photos, email, IM and (most important) identity and relationship to other's identities. It would be purely peer-to-peer, and not branded by any one company, though it would certainly be hosted by a few big companies.
In a way, we have a lot of that today, but it's limited to the real geeks (like me), and the authenticated connections just really aren't there. Very few people I know have OpenID, and I most of the people I know are big time geeks like me.
It's clear to me that the walled gardens are necessary to launch new ideas, like social networking, since the complexity of creating the end game open system is too much for the norms to handle. But it's not clear if a relatively open walled garden, with a good dose of humility, can be easily dislodged. Look at AOL; they are still around, still generating a lot of cash, still serving millions of people. Facebook is at the very early stage of hegemony, will have quite a long reign.