Decentralization: The Future of Online Social Networking
Social networking forms an important part of online activities of Web users. Web sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Orkut have millions of users using them everyday. However, these sites present two problems. Firstly, these sites form information silos. Information on one site is not usable in the others. Secondly such sites do not allow users much control over how their personal information is disseminated, which results in potential privacy problems. This paper presents how these problems can be solved by adopting a decentralized approach to online social networking. With this approach, users do not have to be bounded by a particular social networking service. This can provide the same or even higher level of user interaction as with many of the popular social networking sites we have today. In addition, it also allows users to have more control over their own data. A decentralized social networking framework described is based on open, technologies such as Linked Data [Berners-Lee 2006], Semantic Web ontologies, open single-signon identity systems, and access control. The use of URIs as identifiers throughout allows the decentralized framework to be distributed and extensible, as users, applications and data to be linked to by referring to their URIs.