For all it's other spammy woes, the email world is way ahead of most
"social networking" sites in terms of portability and interop. If I
know your email address, I can communicate with you. We can download
our mail with IMAP and POP for archival, indexing etc., and can select
from a wide variety of mail clients, some of which talk those same
protocols from handheld devices. We can do ad-hoc group formation
through Cc: and mailing lists, regardless (largely) of which service
provides the group members are currently using. We can forward
messages transparently, so eg. I see mail sent to my old Uni Bristol
and W3C accounts. Email is broken in many ways but there is a lot
that's right about it. In some ways its a icon of portability. As
Jabber is to IM, POP/IMAP/etc is to email, XYZ is to modern SN sites.
Where XYZ is what I take this group to be focussed on.
The name "DataPortability" is perhaps a bit confusing, in that there
are so many kinds of data, and so many existing initiatives around.
Where I see this initiative having a natural focus, is around (a) SN
sites (b) personal (rather than corporate, scientific etc) data.
That's just my gut instinct re the shared interests I see around here.
Mail's obviously close to that, especially as we get into things like
addressbook access (eg.
or LDAP). But I would be really pretty happy if SN sites offered the
levels of data portability we take for granted from Internet email...
> www.palacehotel.org ) which has quite an overlap with this one. While
In terms of the data portability reference design that Josh Patterson and I have been working on, we've been working on keeping our ideas fairly general (and not necessarily just focussing on social networking). If you'd like to join in the discussion about how best to do this for things like mail, I'd be more than happy to work through ways to do it with you. I'm sure we can make all of our efforts work together without too much trouble.