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!

1 comment:

Tarek said...

I think this fight will go on, till all the participating parties surrender and admit that using standards methods such as OpenID are the right way to do this.