[Ed: Our London journo Jemima Kiss was at the Content 2.0 conference earlier today…her reports from there start now.]
One day at the Royal Society for the Arts near Trafalgar Square. Broadband Mechanics CEO (and general all-round tech veteran–co-founder of MacroMind, which became Macromedia) Marc Canter is one of those very high-energy Californians, and he managed to squeeze in an anecdote about Gilbert & Sullivan which gave him an excuse to belt out a line…
Canter’s vision of the web is a content mesh – a logical extension of the tools we have now but with much more connection and portability of data between sites and services. He defined content more broadly including spam, user profiles, marketing blurb and even the people actually in a community and thinks that users will become wise to the fact that their data is valuable (and interestingly enough the teenagers in the last panel of the day said as much). “MySpace think they own that data because they gave users the service for free. But people will wake up to the power of their own data – how come you can monetize my data but I can’t? Who owns our content?” he asked. “Since social capital is content, user profile data is content, a user’s own media is content – if my content is locked up in social network and I can’t get it out, that’s theft.” He envisages “tens of millions of decentralized networks” outside control of large companies and a two-way highway to let data move freely between platforms. He said Yahoo! and AOL are the two biggest players in interconnecting content in this way and that Apple, Microsoft, Google and MySpace are “the enemy – they will keep as closed as they can for as long as possible”.
In case you didn’t realize by now, Broadband Mechanics’ PeopleAggregator project aims to do all this of course; this launches in beta in four weeks time and is a social networking platform plus, based on the FOAF (friend of a friend) principle.
Staci adds: Worth noting that AOL is a Broadband Mechanics client; the company has been developing some of the external modules for AIMPages.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.