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October 10, 2005 » 6:18 pm

Social Implications of Data Sharing

A few weeks ago, Evan Henshaw-Plath was explaining to me his epiphany about 43people, where an aggregation of different services tied together by Social Networks was starting to look very compelling. He then said that the next natural step for the folks at The Robot Co-op was calendaring. If anyone knows about calendaring, it’s Evan, who started a calendaring company with Kellan Elliott-McCrea in a past life. (Evan, you need Purple Numbers in your blog. Everyone needs them, dammit!) Trying to find relevant event information works much better when tied to Social Networks. Folks are starting to recognize this en masse, and the industry is reacting accordingly.    (JV3)

In an ideal world, Social Networks wouldn’t be tied to a particular site. Instead, that information would be distributed, and users would control the distribution. I’d love to tie my Google searches with my social network profile at LinkedIn, for example. That’s not going to happen unless Google acquires LinkedIn, or unless there are specs and a culture for distributed data sharing.    (JV4)

The culture is the tricky part. For as long as I’ve known him, Ross Mayfield has had an email signature that says what recipients are allowed to do with that email. (The choices are “bloggable,” “ask first,” and “private.” I think “ask first” is his default.) That, my friends, is a link contract.    (JV5)

Andy Dale has been working on the technical details of distributed data sharing with his XDI work. XDI is hairy stuff, but it’s graspable. Recently, Andy blogged about the form that link contracts and data sharing agreements might take. Victor Grey has said many times that we need a Creative Commons for data sharing agreements — simple, understandable, reusable, and legally enforceable contracts for our data.    (JV6)

That’s just a start. What will the user interface for specifying these agreements look like? Will users pay any more attention to these then they already do to Terms of Agreement on web sites?    (JV7)

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