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What happens to websites when your information is free to move?

Hypernarrative end of the website

Social websites are getting better, more used, more open and more complete. Why should you start a website or blog if you can also write on your Facebook. Or why wouldn’t you transfer or duplicate all your data from your Facebook to any other social network or widget.

Do we need custom coded websites?
We need interfaces that show the information, but do we still need custom coded websites? We’re transfering data via xml, rss and api’s from one website to another. We import contacts from one service into another. We’re trying to work to a universal/sigle sign-on and to standards in open social techniques. Technology (widgets) and design (templates) are available to everyone, you just take what you need.

The field is rapidly shifting, we are clustering information around people not around services anymore. Information gets easily transportable and because of this, free of the website it is presented on. There are already many communities and I’m sure the amount of smaller communities will grow fast within the next years.

Why start a website, if you actually would like to start a community? Communities are about engagement and engagement is the ultimate goal for most websites and the base for a long term relationship between provider and user.

I’m writing these articles on my hypernarrative blog, but why should I? It’s a closed environment (except full article RSS). I could as well start writing this on my Facebook, Flickr or Ning. As long as you all move with me :)

I don’t need a special website to express myself. I need an outlet to publish my thoughts, a community and readers that sometimes give me valuable feedback, ispire or correct me. And the funny thing is that my chances finding these readers in social networks are growing.

My options are changing. First I made a blog because it gave me freedom of publishing. I could stop using Dreamweaver for updates, change the lay-out or control the information anytime I wanted.

We’re getting into a situation where I don’t need to run my own blogsoftware or website to be in full control of my information. With the direction social networks are moving I can easily move my information everywhere I want, when I want.

The barrier of technology had its peak, for now. Everyone can make what he or she likes. We just need to find the tools we need. The real challenge in launching a successful website is in building a great community.

7 replies on “What happens to websites when your information is free to move?”

We don’t see much e-commerce on social networks, or maybe I just haven’t seen great examples. But why shouldn’t it? If I would have to make an online store I would probably only design a great widget and start posting it on every major social service.

I totally agree! The possibilities of this phase of the web are endlessly, only now we need creative (and/or commercialy smart) people to adopt all these possibilities and make valuable attributions to the world!

The real challenge in launching a successful website is in building a great community.

…and part of that is the appearance, authenticity and identity of your own spot on the net. Your own domain (not some x.y.z/123), your own lay-out (assuming that you have the knowledge to make a good information structure and visual design) and complete technical power (standing out via seo, link building) can attribute greatly to these purposes.

But these borders are getting vague indeed. Very popular sites just sit on a x.blogspot.com domain, having a standard lay-out, and do nothing special *except* delivering the (content) goods that people are waiting for and happy with.

@Adri Munier: Sure, I think eventually social networks will pay or share revenues with good content creators to make them use their social network. Good content attracts content.

Good content or interesting people give value to a network. Like newspapers pay people to write interesting articles.

It is already happening in the online video market. Where do you share your video? Brightcove? YouTube? Vimeo?

As an amateur you look for the best environment. Where are the people with similar interests, what service is ‘cool’. As a successful professional you might look at other options like, where do I get maximum revenue.

The problem of who actual owns the content needs to be solved first in order to make me move my content to a commercial party. Companies like MySpace, Facebook, Hyves etc. earn their money through my presence and my content. I don’t believe in rewards for content I produce on a social network, I don’t believe in companies like PayPerPost.

I rather keep my stuff on my own domain and spread is across social networks trough open standards. They networks might change, but my content is safe…

So I do not agree with you n this one Wilbert ;)

@Wout, you don’t have to agree. I’m not saying I’m right or wrong. I’m just guessing and wondering what if… And I’m glad you don’t agree ;)

What you already see is people using social networks to post blogs instead of using blogs. If most of these networks will be open (eventually) you can export and import your content. You’re the creator and the owner, intellectually. You don’t own the bits and bytes.

You only own your content when you have full continuos access. Right now my hosting provider owns my content. If he decides to empty a database, all of this text is lost. I have rights, but I don’t have full access to my content when he deletes something.

I love how you can export LinkedIn contacts into your address book, I don’t have to ask you, we just have to connect. I can import it somewhere else. I don’t have to own my content (bits and bytes) as long it is free to take whenever I want. (for example Google Docs)

This model can only work if my provider doesn’t decide to remove me from the database or LinkedIn stops allowing you to export your addresses.

There needs to be an incentive for service providers that will keep systems open (and give users access to content). I think users are such an incentive for anyone who provides a service.

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