Making a minor splash in my newsreader yesterday was “A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web,” jointly composed by some folks who are pretty prominent in the growing roster of social applications that we all use and work with on a daily basis. The authors suggest that there are three fundamental rights that users of social applications should demand: ownership of their own information, control of information sharing, and the freedom to grant access to their own information. They go on to make demands of sites that support these rights, including syndication APIs, external links, and discovery of other users.
This certainly isn’t the first time that some form of online bill of rights has been proposed, and it undoubtedly won’t be the last. And knowing the blogosphere, there will be endless quibbling over what rights should be included, how they should be worded, and whether the folks involved have any business opening their mouths in the first place. But setting all that aside, the basic question remains: what do you, as an average user of the social web, think of the general idea? Are you concerned about the ownership of the information that you put into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, and all the rest? Do you worry about whether you’ll be able to share it or get it out when you want it? Or are these only the academic concerns of a few, while to the many the social web is simply a network of throwaway sites filled with stuff you don’t invest great emotion in?