2008: The Rise of Linked Data

Here is my one prediction for 2008. Social Networking's breakdown will lead to the rise of Linked Data. Here is the logic:

  1. Social Networking sites have grown tremendously over the last few years fuelled by huge profits from advertising dollars. When I worked at AltaVista it was well known that the more you knew about your users the more valuable an ad became. If you know all the friends, interests, habits of someone, and you know what they are doing right now, you can suggest exactly the right product at the right time to them. The cost of a simple add on AltaVista was $5 per thousand page views. If you knew a lot about what someone was looking for the value could go up to $50.
  2. The allure of profit is leading to an ever increasing number of players in this space. See the Social Networking 3.0 talk at Stanford earlier in 2007.
  3. This in turn leads to a fracturing of the Social Networking space. As more players enter the space, each ends up with a smaller and partial view of the whole graph or social relations.
  4. Which is leading to the need for Social Network Portability, and more generally Data Portability. Users such as Scoble want to use their data on their own computer and link it together. Social Network Providers such as Plaxo or Facebook have a financial interest in helping their users move with their social network to their service. Facebook helps users extract all the information from GMail. Plaxo wants to help users extract all the information from every other social network.
  5. Privacy concerns will mount tremendously as a result. Each social network will increase in their users the fear of giving their data over to other "spamming" services, to defend their position. But to do this they will make it more and more difficult to extract the data from their service, annoying and so going against their users desires for linking their information. This will seem more and more like an issue for anti trust involvement as the ire of more and more people mount.

The force of the above logic will release the energy needed for an investment in Linked Data tools such as Beatnik, since it solves all the problems mentioned above - at the expense of killing the dream some investors may have had of a world where they own Nineteen Eighty Four like, the world.

Comments:

Social networks have emerged from nothing to 6.5% (http://blogs.zdnet.com/social/?p=114) of overall net traffic in some years and are used by millions of users.

But Instant messaging services are used by millions of users too, but the majority of users aren't aware of the problems that emerges from big blocks of uncommunicable networks.

The XMPP protocol (used in Jabber, Gmail chat) tried to solve this problem, but everything remains the same.

I really hope that an application like beatnik could help the net.

cheers.
mario h.c.t

Posted by mario h.c.t. on January 07, 2008 at 08:26 AM CET #

Hi, here's my stab at a distributed social network:

http://www.cs.queensu.ca/~thurston/fif/

Now I just need to build it ;)

-Adrian

Posted by Adrian Thurston on January 23, 2008 at 03:06 PM CET #

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