Data Portability. No two words should make any publisher and marketer shiver more with anticipation about the potential of tapping into the power of the social graph and engaging more consumers in deeper ways. This may be the only way for many publishers to tap into the organic and exponential growth patterns of social media.
So far… OPenID has not achieved widespread adoption, (granted it’s clunky and not really user friendly. Yahoo is the only recognized and trusted 3rd party login partner most consumers would recognize). MySpace has launched a data portability API earlier this year on the OpenSocial platform, as did Google, and neither have had much fanfare. Facebook Connect was supposed to launch on Sunday (odd day of the week to launch a data product – did anyone look at the calendar when announcing that day?). I have been eagerly waiting to hear more about it, but alas I have not heard the world ablaze with Facebook Connect on the brain. Essentially the new development allows members of Facebook to login to other sites and share data from their social graph, benefiting both FB and the partners (launch partners were supposed to include CitySearch, Twitter, Digg, CNN Forum, MoveOn.org, Red Bull, eVite, Vimeo, Plaxo, Hulu, Stumble Upon, ABC, and a handful of others), and in theory making the web easier for consumers to log into simply using their FB credentials.
With Facebook Connect, you can incorporate your users’ true identities as represented on Facebook whenever they visit your site. By integrating their personal, privacy and account information, you can add Facebook’s rich social context to the content they create on your site. Likewise, you can publish information to Facebook based on the actions your users take on your site. You can also dynamically show which of your users’ Facebook friends already have accounts on your site.
The answer is probably a little yes to both. Either way, data portability is the future. It is an opt-in method for consumers to share their social graph data with other sites to create a more interconnected web. Consumers trust Facebook, they have demonstrated this with the barrage of information provided in their profiles. Facebook learned their lesson once about sharing that data without the explicit permission of the consumer. Facebook Connect shows that they have applied the learnings from that mistake, but they still see the value in extending the social graph outside of their walls, as well as pulling in more content and interconnected experiences from the “open web” into Facebook. I agree and think the data portability future is bright.
What do you think?