The Social Graph Is Neither is a brilliant article on why the current idea of “social networking” is utterly flawed. Some highlights:
But even if we go ahead and build the Semantic Web, 2004 edition, and populate it with information about all our connections to other people, it still won’t be expressive enough.
There’s another fundamental problem in that a graph is a static thing, with no concept of time. Real life relationships are a shared history, but in the social graph they’re just a single connection.
Social networks exist to sell you crap. […] Because their collection methods are kind of primitive, these sites have to coax you into doing as much of your social interaction as possible while logged in, so they can see it.
Open data advocates tell us the answer is to reclaim this obsessive dossier for ourselves, so we can decide where to store it. But this misses the point of how stifling it is to have such a permanent record in the first place.