Wednesday 8 August 2007

Openness on the edges

We're talking about Facebook, and I talked about Facebook as a marketplace (I was thinking more in the classical sense, not necessarily an e-commerce hub) meanwhile Ross Dawson has been highlighting the trend to openness, which many others are commenting on.

This conversation reminds me of one of stories in The Adventures of English , where it describes the melding of Old Norse and Old English:

"The new grammatical meld tended to happen in the borderland market towns; word followed trade. Clarity for commerce may have been the chief driving force."

Of course, English is the UK is still well known for its many dialects but has also continued to evolve around the world - we now have no dialects, such as Aussie Strine, Singlish in Singapore and many others. This original openness at the edges provided a platform for ongoing development.

Of course, information technology is a little different and unlike language, interoperability often calls for exact commonality. But perhaps a better comparison - and it pains me to say it - is email.

What do you think? Will openness make social networks the email of Web 2.0? This means walled gardens (or dialects) will exist, with different and unique functionality, but they will still understand each other just enough.

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