"Take back the graph!" was @mattmiz's reply to my rant that The Cloud was shite, Facebook was poison, and that the future will be peer-to-peer social networking.*
Head in the clouds
How did I come about to that, since not long ago, I was Mr Cloud, harping about a time when all would be in the Cloud, with a dashboard (or a "door") to all our lifestreams, connecting to everyone, sharing, loving, communicating?
At least, that was the original vision of Ovi I first pitched at the end of 2005 (to the wrong crowd, though). I thought that the killer service would be Cloud-based and full of lifestreams. The last flourishes on these thoughts in the past years revolved around visualization and filtering of all these streams.
But I believe this no more.
Here is where I rain on everyone's parade
Facebook is the best example of how Cloud living can go wrong. Folks who are first discovering social networking are getting so mired in Facebook without understanding how Facebook is so twisted with respect to the users.**
And nothing is really in the Cloud. Is anything ever really in the Cloud? No, everything has always been on someone's servers. Their servers. Your data, their servers. [Despite this, there have been efforts to take back the graph, great standards work to democratize social networking – see here a suggested alternative.]
So, I say, The Cloud is a fantasy.
The past is future
Back in my father's day, data resided on someone else's machine. When I started with computers, it was the dawn of PCs, where the data resided on my machine. Then we hooked up all those PCs to communicate until some of those PCs got huge and ended up shouldering the work, serving up data stored out there somewhere.
And now The Cloud dream is to return to a time where the "terminal" is an appendix on the network, and that the network would store everything and do all the work. Terminals are to be just windows onto the Cloud, Just as our terminals were getting interesting and wide-spread – smartphones, tablets, amazing laptops.
How did we let that happen again? Bad move.
Peer to peer social networking
I claim that we need to move data and communication back to the edge of the network, residing in your machines, sitting in your hands, your laps, your tables.
I used to say that the ultimate social networking device was the mobile phone – your buddy list in your address book, billions and billions of text messages exchanged, a direct 1-1 link through a phone call.
Can that model be extended? Can we create a world where there is no Cloud, just a bunch of network bots pushing packets, be they IP or SMS or whatever communication packet we need to route? What will a peer-to-peer email-blogging-website-social network be like?
Do you want to have full control over your data, your social graph, your communications, just like you do now with your mobile phone?
So do I.
How will we do it?
*I've not really written these thoughts down before, since I've sort of stopped
worrying (or at least tried to), or hoped to do something myself. They
are peppered in the bookmarks and comments I have made in the past
years, though. And since I have a high idea to execution ratio, here's the thought for anyone to build upon.
**I deleted my first Facebook account in 2008. I only got another one last year because of work. But, yeah, it'll be gone as soon as I can ditch it.