Making The Business Case for Data Portability & Media

Elias Bizannes, Co-founder and Vice Chair of the DataPortability Project makes the case for data portability and how interoperability is a win-win situation for digital media companies:

Read more of his thoughts on the information value chain and how it underlines the business case for data portability, brilliant stuff!


on data

Just a little saying that my team hears me say way too much...


just a reminder from the horse's mouth

-Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving The Web

Be Nice or Leave: Faris Yakob = Awesome

Just when I think I'm going to rip my hair out and keel over from the sheer boredom of benign "social media" conversations that reverberate oh so loudly within the blasted echo chamber...I remember to call on my friend Faris's blog...and like always, he never fails to deliver. I love you Faris!


YouTube + Facebook Connect Update

So after a brief conversation with the Google/YouTube folks, I found out that apparently YouTube is not supporting Facebook Connect as a login option for YouTube across the board. The Sprite "Green Eyed World" brand channel is using Facebook Connect by embedding an app as an iFrame in the channel page, as my colleague Matt Schultz discovered upon further investigation. And apparently any siting of Facebook Connect on YouTube is a one-off implementation at the brand page level.

Still, as YouTube mentioned, you would need to work directly with them when enabling your brand channel with Facebook Connect. I feel like YouTube is definitely hedging at something here...certainly rolling out universal support for Facebook Connect across YouTube a la Vimeo would be a giant move for both Facebook and YouTube, not to mention how it might threaten the movement for decentralized data portability. Certainly Google with its Friend Connect initiative that uses open standards to enable portability would lose traction should YouTube support FBC. But who knows? Will wait and see...


Twitter Enters the Data Portability Ring

Twitter has now entered the data portability ring with Sign in With Twitter, using open standard OAuth for user authentication. It was only a matter of time until they joined in the data portability rounds, and now most of the mainstream news covering the announcement is already touting a Facebook Connect vs. Sign in with Twitter war. Is it though? Frankly, I think all of the major players attempting data "portability" ("accessibility" is probably more appropriate, and accurate) is a GREAT thing, and not necessarily a war-- yet.

Its not a war yet because the biggest challenge to data portability is still that it is largely a very geeky concept. Believe me, mention "data portability" to any of your friends and you'll likely get blank stares. But, with the advent of the major social services providing what average users perceive as "login capability on 3rd party sites," you begin the slow process of passively educating users on the idea that their services online need not be siloed, that they can access them and the personal data they contain, from anywhere online. As they become used to being able to access one service or another, and the identity and relationship data housed in those services, from 3rd party sites, then you begin to train their behavior and perception of what their online experience is and should be (a completely portable, remixable one).

So, for now, I welcome any and all players in the field to start and test their own data portability initiatives. Will we eventually reach an apex in the war between open vs. closed? Certainly, but again, much like the AOL analogy, open networks will always win out.

As my colleague Jayson Phillips just tweeted:

"@alisamleo competition breeds recognition, which shall hopefully breed adoption. Which, in turn, should lead to data access innovation"

Quite right!


SNL On Direct Marketing...Awesome

SNL Direct Mail Marketers Alliance



The Now Network

I know this is old, but kudos to Sprint for all the cool data viz....and while I used to be a Sprint customer, I switched over to AT&T, alas, because of the bloody iPhone...

the new content, the new king


Twas Only A Matter of Time: Facebook Connect + YouTube

I have talked a lot about Facebook Connect here Socialized. I believe its one of the initial step towards data portability (from a consumer perspective, not a development one) and is indicative of the future of "social media"-- that is to say, every site and service online with have social context and connectedness through the interoperability of user identity (and relationship) data.

Now Facebook can put another feather in its Connect cap with YouTube now implementing Facebook Connect (thanks to my buddy Nicholas Carlson over at Silicon Alley Insider for alerting me), at least on its sponsored pages. Will be interesting to watch FBC develop, as it is speculated that they will back an ad network into Facebook Connect by the end of the year or once they have a solid network of particpiatory sites and services. Couple FBC into content-rich YouTube and both parties may just hit their revenue sweet spot if you consider how valuable FB user and behavioral data can fuel YouTube's advertising options. Just something to keep your eye on...

PS- a little birdie at Facebook mentioned that said FBC ad network has been on the table over at Facebook, but that an ad network isn't likely in the next 6 months...now with YouTube implementing FBC, we may see it sooner than later...


The "Search and Social Synergy" Post: Re-think Visibility

So as a "social media strategist" (I know, I know) who was not born out of the practices of SEO, but rather from a research background in emerging Web technologies, I have long cringed at the "search and social synergy" promises touted by search engine types (that is to say that social activity increases visibility in search engines). Why you ask? Certainly activity in social media produces benefits of creating visibility in search engines, and you will find many an article and blog post on just how to use Twitter or blogging or YouTubing to increase visibility in search. And that's all very well indeed...but I take issue with the notion that visibility in search engines = visibility period.

While we know search engines are vital touch points (indeed, usually the first touch point of the majority of online sessions), we would be remiss to assume that this is the only place where visibility matters. Indeed, it is in social spaces that people "live" online...endlessly traversing an ecosystem of social spaces-- an ecosystem in which content and links are exchanged as currency.

So what of visibility in social spaces? Building visibility in these spaces is developed through active, ongoing participation (that is relevant and useful)-- and not simply through the oft-SEO driven tactic of simply pushing content and seeking to link build.

So let's re-think our notion of visibility....visibility in engines and in social spaces. The first of course, being visible when and where there is specific intention to find information and the second, being visible for unintentional, or passive discovery. Certainly the two work in tandem, but the approach to building visibility in these two core areas are very different. Visibility in social spaces comes through building real social equity, or network influence, as gained through timely, useful (real value exchange) and relevant engagement over the long haul.

Lets think about being Visible in these two ways:

Discovery with intent = visibility in engines

Discovery without intent = visibility in social spaces

Both are key.

Am I sounding like the echo chamber? Perhaps...but hey, I think its worth it for us to keep discussing...


ya know...


"Why Facebook Can't Succeed" is Missing the Point

Edmund Lee recently wrote a post on The Big Money entitled "Why Facebook Can't Succeed: Letting readers call all the shots is great for community but bad for business" in which he supposes that Facebook's lack of revenue is somehow tied to their "habit" of bending to the will of their users, to quote:

Facebook, the world's largest social network, suffered under the tyranny of its own users in early February after the company rewrote its long-standing terms of service. Many members interpreted the revised rules to mean that the company would own every bit of uploaded ephemera, resulting in closed accounts and a rash of anti-Facebook groups—on Facebook. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg clarified the company's position, but users wouldn't budge, many commenting with the same four words: "Delete my account, please." After three days, Facebook reinstated the original terms.

What does this signify other than the usual digital shriek so often found on Web sites everywhere? Just this: Social networks are doomed to fail. At least Facebook is, so long as it continues on its current path. By heeding to the objections of its grumbling users, Facebook has essentially painted itself into a revenue corner.

Dear Mr. Lee, I respectfully disagree.

First, we need to forget “social networks”....Facebook is a DATABASE. Pure and simple. Facebook Connect? Merely an attempt (none too disguised) to remix their database data into a revenue stream (hence, my speculation about a FBC ad network). Secondly, I continue to be appalled at journalist’s inability to know the difference between, and the significance of, Facebook’s perpetual LICENSE to do WHATEVER they want with user data vs. ownership of said data (OWNERSHIP IS A RED HERRING).

So, “why Facebook can’t succeed”? Well, it has little to do with advertising....if they don’t succeed it will be because they fail to 1) admit to themselves (which I know they have) and publicly that they are in fact a database (they use lots of fancy rhetoric around bridging consumers and marketers and really, they are selling “data” but through the interstitial layer of advertising) and 2) monetize like a database...ie: sell data.

He also makes the claim that Facebook won’t succeed due to bending to the will of Facebook users. Not so. Again, they really didn’t change ANYTHING about the TOS after the outcry. They simply were effective at misdirection. They made the issue about OWNERSHIP (which its not) and therefore they still retain that all-encompassing license! And everyone thinks its all fixed. ALSO...people hate the new redesign. Zuck’s response? “Get over it.” Not exactly bending to the will of the masses. Facebook has never actually bent to their community’s will....they simply have been very good at making it seem as if they have. And what else would you expect from a company’s who’s board members are ex-DARPA directors? :)


Questions for Facebook I Wasn't Allowed to Ask

I recently had the opportunity to interview Facebook's Product Marketing Manager, Kasey Galang. Kasey was conducting a workshop, "Harnassing the Social Graph," at SES New York a few weeks ago and obliged me with some insight into Facebook's marketing products. While I appreciated the interview, I did not get the chance to ask the questions I REALLY wanted to....so for the genericized, Facebook-approved interview, read here. The questions I really wish Facebook would answer?

1) Facebook has made a lot of shifts over the past year, most notably the latest move towards a more streams-based application. Do you believe "streams" are the future of the social Web?

2) Facebook announced Facebook Connect for iPhone apps at SXSW. There seem to be a lot of game-based applications utilizing FBC, can you comment on some other exciting, non-game based implementations of FBC for iPhone coming up?

3) It seems that an Facebook Connect Ad Network is a logical step for the platform, and I noticed that FBC is listed under the “Advertising” options page. Can we expect such and ad network to roll out?

4) I’m not going to ask about the TOS hubbub, but what does Facebook think about creating an environment that provides value exchange between end users and vendors with Facebook providing that platform and brokering the data from which they could derive revenue?

5) We have heard that Facebook is committed to supporting open standards, is there a plan for Facebook to support OpenID login in the near future?