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Mozilla's big opportunity in social networking

Mozilla groks social networking. It starts with true sociability, which means the corporation needs to get out of the way.

I've been reading through David Ascher's excellent blog today, and was intrigued by David's comments on social networking and how it intersects with email. If David gets even half of this right it will eliminate my need to start a business around the idea, as I've been mulling since 2000.

David is right. Most collaboration schemes go barren because they force users into a corporate starting point. Mozilla has the chance to disrupt this way of thinking:

There's one major distinction between my vision and the one [Yahoo!'s] oneConnect seems to promote, which is that I think individuals should be at the center of their own "social manifold", not Yahoo, or Yahoo/Microsoft, or Google, or any other central party.

And that's a place where I think Mozilla's approach, whether through the use of desktop software or hosted storage of client-side encrypted data, is the approach worth advocating. Individuals should be able to choose to trust providers to store that data for them, or not. And they should be able to change their mind as to the state of those trust relationships, especially given this heady M&A frenzy.

Amen. Either a self-interested corporate party needs to recognize that the greater the industry-wide interest, the greater the self-interest to be had (i.e., feed the market first, and yourself second), or a neutral party like Mozilla needs to build that central standard. My vote is with Mozilla because I can't see Microsoft et al. giving up control long enough to allow a community to grow.