Dave Winer’s recent post on the Un-Internet has been repeated on multiple blogs and tweets that I subscribe to. I read it a few times and it strikes me a bit of a non-issue. It is all about control by corporations on their platforms, services and content. Control seems to be a common of corporations and they do not always win (or is it never)?
In the case of platform control, Apple seems to be the best target of these discussions. It is however not a black/white discussion. I would argue that Apple is in effect one of the more open platforms. At the other end of the scale one can think of gaming platforms, such as the PS3, WII, Nintendo-3DS. And nobody complains of the lack of openness of the latter. The problem is that the iOS-platform reminds people of the PC (or Mac), which is (are) at the other end of the spectrum.
The Android-platform was poised to be an open platform. However Android reseted a development environment and many independent Android-platforms have been created. Each Android-platform has it’s own controlling corporation, which determines who can publish on their platform, how it works with platform upgrades etc. I did not follow all the details, but the Android-world seems to have become less open than iOS.
The degree of openness seems also related to the user experience offered and thus to the target user group. Consumer Electronics has always been a closed environment. For me, Apple succeeded in creating a fairly open consumer experience and thus offering high end computing to a much larger user group. Windows or MacOSX never succeeded at this. With all platforms allowing access to Internet-services and having a very large amount of apps, I am not much worried here.
I am much more worried about service control. There are multiple services which seem to control to much content and to many users. Facebook and Twitter come to mind here. Facebook (the mini-Internet) can be circumvented, which I did. I am not a Facebook user, so not a specialist. There are however Facebook-service which are reaching into the rest of the Internet. I think of the like-button, which give Facebook to much control of public appreciations. The same is true of the Google +1-button.
The control of Twitter is even more worrisome. A single provider that controls a worldwide notification network! Attempts by US congress to control users here clearly indicates that things need to open up here.
What I am missing is are attempts to standardise services in an IETF-way. We could use a set of standards on which we could base a like/+1 network. Or a client-server or server-server set of specifications on which we could base a Twitter-like network.
And a key ingredient of such a standardisation drive should be a common set of MicroContent-definitions, which would allow us the interchange, save, import, export, backup all kinds of MicroContent. Do not let a corporation control your MicroContent either.