Response#3 The Lending Library of the Social Web

It’s hard not to compare Open Social Web‘s Bill of Rights to the US Bill of Rights.  In Joseph Smarr’s post on the genesis, he acknowledges that implementation details may be a point of debate.  I don’t want to go into that thorny debate here and I do agree that sites should respect user autonomy, but the idea of ownership as it relates to the social web, is a point of contention for me.

  • Ownership of their own personal information, including:
    • their own profile data
    • the list of people they are connected to
    • the activity stream of content they create

    While I think personal information on the social web should be protected, I think you get into a sticky situation when you make the leap to ‘ownership.’  Take Facebook: I don’t have a sense that I ‘own,’ my profile, the list of people it is connected to, or the activity I create.  If anything, I feel I am borrowing from Facebook to giving my information away.  I understand they are talking about sites using social web applications and those sites have no right to ‘own’ the data but if I am freely giving my data to them in order for the site to link to something or someone else,  doesn’t a web site like Facebook have to be effectively a part-owner? And the people I connect to, don’t they become part owner of my material the moment they socially engage in it? To me, social media is more like a lending library where you are expected to make infinite amount of notes in the margins of any book. Just because you wrote the notes  doesn’t mean you own the book. -NS

p.s. Garrett and Mike-this was an incredibly interesting topic that I can see myself trying to monopolizing most of class tomorrow discussing.  If you put other students’ blogs on the blogroll, I could relegate my response to their comment’s section and we could all come to class with a dialogue in progress. There is simply too much material to cover to give this idea justice.

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