Social Networking Sites & Detached Personal Data

The internet is inherently social and the concept of the social network will shift until finally, the sites that we now consider “social networking sites” will be simple repositories for the data that defines us. 

Users will be able to create pathways around their personal data allowing them to create personal definition through deeper connection to content around the web. The Internet has spent the previous 20 years existing around the transfer and sharing of documents. Openness of data is the next step for the internet’s evolution and social networking sites will be the catalyst for this important transition. As each social networking site (SNS) focuses on allowing users to connect with sites around the web it requires the detachment of our personal data from the sites that contain them. This saves the frustration of having to enter personal information repeatedly, from creating new profiles across hundreds of sites. With the development of detached personal data (dpd) users will be given the freedom to be who they are anywhere they want to be.

In this environment, how will users value themselves and each other? As SNSs developed, the valuation was based on the number of friends the user had. It them evolved around the amount of recognition the user received on the site. This recognition based value is based upon the quality of the users socializing. What has begun evolving now is the valuation on localization and recognition. The depth of the local community the user is able to develop, whether via tweets or posts, and the depth of recognition the users received and sends defines their value. In other words, the value the user represents is defined by their quality of their connections. As detached personal data becomes more prominent a post or a tweet will lose its connection. By opening up their personal data to a new site it transforms that site into another, more focused SNS. But it also detaches the users’ posted content. If personal data can become detached and moveable couldn’t content do the same?

As part of the users’ detached personal data the links and posts that they carry with them, the content that defines their value, loses its context. But if that content can be refined down to the segment of meaning that the user values, then the amount of data that is needed by the user will be reduced. Rather than carrying an entire web page, the user can connect and carry a snippet of content. These snippets, because they are easier to access for other users, will create a new definition of value for each user. By allowing the sharing of specific snippets users become valuable because they increase the value for their local networks. The previous valuations around connectivity then expand because the detached data, per user, becomes more valuable within each local network. Not only that by the recognition speed and depth will only expand as the specific items the user is interested in is delivered as a quote within their personal data.

The success of this requires the development of a free and browser-based app that allows users to select and save these snippets to their detached personal data. It would be a simple component, connecting the user’s interest with their SNS and allowing the information to connect to the detached data. This saves the user from including links to large amounts of data that is 90% useless to them. More importantly for the network, it allows friends of that user to respond to the particular element of the users interest and not to the broader article. Each snippet could become a link to the original content as well, allowing the user to essentially rename the page content to the snippet.