Vint Cerf called . . .

… and he and Tim Berners-Lee want you to stop breaking the Internet.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had several occasions to be invited into someone’s walled garden on the internet.  You know the places.  Lovely little sites that are entirely self-contained and which you can’t access unless you are a member?  In the old days, Compuserve and AOL were the big walled gardens.  These days, it’s Facebook and Linked-In.

These two social networking sites provide easy access to various tools for maintaining a web presence, but also keep enough meta-data that it’s easy to track down other people that you are likely to know.  FWIW, I have no problem with the meta-data aspects of the site.  If you want to find people that you may know due to past associations, well more power to you.  The concern I have is that once you go beyond those functions and start using the internals of the garden to maintain information, well, then the only people who can see that information are those who belong to that garden.  Even that is fine with me if the information is private and should be restricted through some form of identity management and authorization; but what if you intend the information to be public, should everyone have to come into the garden to see what should be public?  What does restricting the information to only those with (Facebook) accounts do for you?  You aren’t controlling access, you are just making the owners of your walled garden a little richer by increasing the popularity of their sites.

I mentioned that I’ve had several invitations respecting walled gardens recently.  FWIW, two were on Facebook.  A few of these are related to my upcoming 20th high school reunion (er, actually, that should be 20 year – technically it’ll be our 1st reunion and at this rate, our 20th will be in the year 2389) and seeing someone’s pictures, or viewing our class group or….  The other was a friend who stopped blogging publically (for the most part) and is now (as I understand it) “writing on her wall” (which is a wonderfully ironic image for this post).  The Linked-in request was to “recommend” someone professionally.  Okay, it’s true that I do belong to Linked-in, but I use it as an online rolodex, not as a way to keep in touch with what former colleauges are doing.  I don’t “recommend” people.  I don’t ask to be “recommended” and I don’t really keep up with what happens.  As far as Facebook?  Not participating and not joining.  Use the (free) tools that are available like flickr for images and blogger or wordpress for blogging.  In the meantime, if Facebook and/or Linked-in ever open up to the rest of the Internet, then maybe I’ll look at your images and read your writing.  But if they don’t, then you’re restricting yourself to only a subset of the people on the Internet.



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5 Responses to “Vint Cerf called . . .”

  1. etselec Says:

    It’s not that I intend to give up the blog entirely, and I’m certainly not saying as much or as well on Facebook, it’s just that Facebook is like going to a fast food restaurant and blogging is like cooking home-made paella. I just don’t have the time/energy/creativity/will to blog right now, and I’m getting verbally flabby as a result.

  2. cec Says:

    Hey – I’m sorry if that got a little pissy. I’m not sleeping well and I think that came off crankier than I intended. I’m glad to hear that you aren’t giving up blogging entirely. I certainly understand not having the time/energy/creativity/will to blog. I’ve been trying to write something at least once a week and still haven’t hit that target. A sign of the times for everyone I guess. :-/

  3. Bettejean Says:

    Re social networking by internet, you sound a lot like your father. Not that he speaks of it so eloquently. More like an eye rolling mutter as he protests, “Are you on that thing again?” He has no appreciation whatsoever for my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or my blog. But I find all of them somewhat helpful in staying in touch. (If you were on Facebook, you would have known from Sarah’s status update that during Easter, after dad and Deron were asleep, Kathryn, Sarah and I sat in the same room for over an hour chatting via laptop.)

  4. cec Says:

    Somehow, I suspect that dad’s complaints are more related to the last line of the post. It’s hard to appreciate a social networking websites if you aren’t social 😉 Not that I have any room to cast aspersions. It’s entirely possible that I’m rationalizing my dislike of being social on social networks by pointing out that they break the Internet… Nah – it’s both.

    You blog? That’s news to me. Oh, and Twitter? Seriously?

  5. Etselec Says:

    So it’s many monhs later, and now I have completely absorbed myself into facebook and my stupid iPhone, and now I am a texted from Hell. And all of your predictions have come true. I no longer blog, but at least I am not tweeting, although I mAy as well be on this iPhone. It feels like a serious change to go back, but what are we losing??