Facebook owns /me online and I hate it. What can we do?

FACEBOOK, I’m sick of the singles ads and I’m sick of you owning my timeline.  I love and appreciate everything that facebook let’s us do. I love being able to stay connected to my friends. I love being able to push content I think is important. I just hate that I’ll prob never be able to get any of this out.

Why would I create a photo album (an album of my life) if you’re never gonna let me hold it.

I want to see my domain, not yours. http://think27.com << that’s me.


… why do you force me to stare at this. YUCK

In case you’re not instantly grokking what I’m talking about. Let’s think about this. (and this is nothing new that people havn’t been saying for a lone time now) … all the actions you take on facebook – changes to your profile, friends you connect with, messages you send, people you break up with, all those little “stories,” as FB calls them, etc. those are reflections of your life. Shouldn’t YOU own the album?

When facebook first started, you know back years ago when I was in college, I would always think: you know, facebook should record all these changes we are making to our profiles and all the friends we are making and all the pictures we are uploading and let us print it all out in a book. back then FB was only for college students, and I was expecting to drop it when I graduated, I thought, “this would be killer as a yearbook because gawd knows I’m not gonna by a real year book that includes 20,000 people I dont know.” i even sent zuck a message about this. (if facebook had a way to search my sent messages I’d go find it, but I dont feel like pressing the next button that many times.) i still think this would be a cool idea. print it out. but no worries, i have more.

ok, here’s another reason why we should stop letting facebook own all our action, specifically our social ones:

sooner or later we are going to have, as Jonas Lamis of Scivestor has talked about, something like Google Agent. It’s going to better understand what we want done because it will know a ton about us. For instance, and this only scratches the surface (and I’m totally stealing this example), if my anniversary was coming the Agent would know and it would know who my girlfriend was and where I like to take her and what my schedule was like, etc, etc. I would just click and it would take care of all that for me – and perhaps offer a couple choices. The point is. This crazy Agent bot thing has to get to know me and that takes time and data. Right now the place that knows the most about me and has the most data is most definitely facebook and google and I would bet it’s the same for you. I dont want the Agent/bot thing to have to get the data from fb/google, I want it to get it from me.

Now, I’m not worried about facebook having all this information. kdfakhfph./ well, shit. i kind of am… … it’s just that there is no where else to go with it. i’m not going to be one of those people who doesn’t use facebook because all this, i dont want to miss out on all the fun and all the great things facebook lets me do, i just want an alternative or i want facebook to openup all this data. AND I WANT IT NOW.

I’m not sure if the standards are in place yet to handle all this kind of openness… but. …That’s a good question. Does anyone know? Could they just use Google’s Opensocial or Friend Connect stuff? Is the DataPortability workgroup there yet?

How would I propose we move forward with all this? we could start with:

1.) Opensource or openup Friendfeed

Friendfeed is great, People like Robert Scoble (Loving my Friendfeed) and Mike Arrington (damnit Friendfeed gets even more useful) talk on and on about it and says we won’t feel how great it is until we join the community, but whatever, it’s just yet anther site that wants me to tell it where I am online and wants to know all about me. And until they open it up, all I really get in return is the ability to participate in threads where Loic or Robert are also chatting. At least there is RSS, but still. I should own all that data. If I want to share it and chat around it, then we can use Disqus. … I think

(NOTE: USE YAHOO PIPES!! like Zach Klein does for his Universal Feed)

2.) Make it easier for people to buy vanity domains.

We need to get people to understand how important it is that they own their identity online. Right now most people (ahem, besides leet ones who use nearlyfreespeach) goto Godaddy because they saw a lame super bowl ad. Have you seen Godaddy.com? Have you registered a domain from there? The site and domain control interfaces suck. For regular people to start doing anything with domains, which is what they need to start owning their identity, there has to be a better registar. One that is simple and doesn’t talk about DNS and or blah or blah. Just make it simple.

3.) Help people track their actions even better online.

4.) I love how Tumblr shows you how use a custom domain name. We need more of this.

I think together these pack a nice 1-2-punch and have been working on rough plans on the side for how all this should/could be implemented.

When I’m not plugging away and connecting people to the Startup District, what I need to do is get more involved in the DataPortability group (props to Chris Saad) and the DiSo Project (props to Chris Messina). …If you think any of this is cool, you should too.