The web is founded on open, decentralised principles. This means anyone can build a site that can link to any other, without any need for proprietary technology. No one owns e-mail, usenet or http, but social services like Facebook and Twitter are—for the most part—silo’d businesses with their own networks and proprietary APIs. You can join them together in code, but they’re not in any way ‘interoperable’.
This panel will explore why large and centralized seems to dominate, whether it’s a bug or a feature. We’ll take a critical eye at new attempts at building distributed social web products like Diaspora. We won’t be focusing on the technical specifications as much as the end user experience and the business models that could support them. If a distributed service wouldn’t be fun, easy to use or profitable, then is there really any point in building one…?
Evan Prodromou, CTO, StatusNet Inc
Founder and creator of the StatusNet open source social platform, Evan is the co-chair of the W3C’s working group on federated social web technologies.