On Social Networks

Daniel Terdiman from CNET.com wrote a piece today about the large number of social networks and the stream of invitations one gets in email. I talked to him about it a bit and he quoted me a few times in his piece.
I am a serious user of LinkedIn and Facebook, and I definitely find the services valuable. But I have policies for myself on who I will link with, and I find that as my network grows, I want to share less and less personal information. LinkedIn is easy, it’s all business, but Facebook is all play, and I could spend all my time telling people what I’m reading, writing, eating, drinking, and playing. Is there a “What I’m looking at on Facebook” app? Maybe there should be. 😉
I’ve found both services most valuable for keeping me in touch with people in the games industry, and for re-finding people I’ve met previously, or contacting people who I don’t have an email address for. The barrier for sending a message on facebook seems lower than a traditional email, as well, so it does encourage a friendly banter.
One of the things that does worry me about social networking services is the way that some treat the information you post as their own property. If I spend my own time creating value for myself by creating a network, shouldn’t I own the network information? I’m happy to let the service also have access to the information I created in trade for providing me the service for free, but as for them owning it? That’s a bunch of hooey. Check out Robert Scoble’s post about getting kicked off of facebook for trying to harvest the information he’d posted up. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some data portability standards for social network sites so we don’t have to worry about things like this?