Data Bank or Data Pimp: choosing the future of social media repositories

The Key Bank Vault door or http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/2274922356/?

Are social media sites data banks, secure repositories of personal assets, or data pimps, soliciting intimate exposure for profit?

I think these services need to choose.  I notice that the setting for who can see what in various systems is in flux.  I can set something to private today and may have to reset it keep it private later.

When I upload content to a site, shouldn’t the expectation be that the deposit is governed by the terms at the time of the contribution?  Why should terms change after I upload?  At least, shouldn’t new rules apply only to new content or content explicitly that has had permissions altered.

Banks do lend out the money I provide them, but only in an anonymous way.  No one knows my dollars are in their mortgage or car loan.  Only legally authorized entities can see my banking records (or so I hope).

Data pimps seem to want to give away anything I give up.  They sell my data as quickly and for as much as possible.

Banks have now developed a reputation that does not make them a great contrast for data pimps, but they still try to represent values like security, confidentiality, and reliability.

I have personally assumed that all data I upload is public.  Only my pictures of my kids have been made “private” and I would not be surprised if those pictures ultimately become public.

Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg

Bernie Hogan’s Facebook Social Network Data Provider and Visualization toolkit

My colleague at the Oxford Internet Institute, Bernie Hogan, is working on tools that collect personal Facebook network data and visualize the connections among your friends.  These tools now interoperate with NodeXL through the GraphML XML file format. Here is the new link: http://namegen.oii.ox.ac.uk/fb/downloadNet.php?type=graphml

Here is an example: http://twitpic.com/9rvfq

2009 - September - Bernie Hogan - Facebook Network Visualization

It provides a good illustration of the ways a person’s social network is clumped into clusters built around life phases, workplaces, educational institutions, teams and locations.  As people move through more of these stages of life during the Facebook era (and often before) they accumulate these clusters.

Facebook or other contact and friend management systems might could leverage this clustering to organize the presentation of contact information streams.

Bernie recently announced on the SOCNET list that he has updated his script for downloading your Facebook network.

“Features:

1. Its faster. (Presently orders of magnitude faster than Nexus, Touchgraph or ORA).
2. It gives nice feedback during the download.
3. It has less bugs!
4. It gives you the output as a file you can right-click and save rather than copy-paste.
5. IDs are names.”

Bernie writes that phase two of his project is underway.

Bernie is planning a demo at the Sunbelt social network analysis conference in Italy in 2010.

Bernie is the author of the Facebook chapter in our forthcoming book Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world available from Morgan-Kaufmann in July 2010.

Meeting: Saving Our Present for the Future: Personal Archiving 2010, February 16th at the Internet Archive


I will attend an interesting discussion organized by Jeff Ubois on February 16th at the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

Saving Our Present for the Future: Personal Archiving 2010

From family photographs and personal papers to health and financial information, vital personal records are becoming digital. At the same time, creation and capture of new digital information has become a part of the daily routine for hundreds of millions of people. But what are the long term prospects for this data?

The combination of new capture devices (more than 1 billion camera phones will be sold in 2010) with the move from older forms of media is reshaping both our personal and collective memories. The size and complexity of personal collections growing, these collections are spread across different media (including film and paper!), and the lines between personal and professional, published and unpublished are being redrawn.

Whether these issues are described as personal archiving, lifestreams, personal digital heritage, preserving digital lives, scrapbooking, or managing intellectual estates, they present major challenges for both individuals and institutions: data loss is a nearly universal experience, whether it is due to hardware failure, obsolescence, user error, lack of institutional support, or any one of many other reasons. Some of these losses may not matter; but the early work  of the Nobel prize winners of the 2030s is likely to be digital today, and therefore at risk in ways that previous scientific and literary creations were not. And it isn’t just Nobel winners that matter: the lives of all of us will be preserved in ways not previously possible.

On Tuesday, February 16, the Internet Archive will host a small conference for practitioners in personal digital archiving.

Continue reading