Social Networks – Challenging an Open Internet? Walled Gardens Tweet Jam

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

On July 10, The Open Group will host a special tweet jam to examine “walled gardens” and the effect of social media networks on the web.

The World Wide Web was originally intended to be an open platform – from the early forums for programmers exchanging code or listservs to today’s daily photo blogs or corporate website providing product information. Information was meant to be free and available for public consumption, meaning any link on the World Wide Web could be accessed by anyone, anytime.

With the advent of Web 2.0, content no longer roams free. Increasingly, private companies and social networks, such as Facebook and Google Plus, have realized the value of controlling information and restricting the once open flow of the Internet. A link to a Facebook profile, for example, doesn’t lead to a member’s Facebook page, but instead to an invitation to join Facebook – a closed, member-only network where one must be inside the network to derive any benefit. And once one joins one of these “walled gardens,” personal content is shared in ways that are uncontrollable by the user.

As web data continues to explode and more and more information about Internet usage is gathered across sites, the pressure to “grow the gardens” with more personal data and content will continue to increase.

Please join us on July 10 at 9:00 a.m. PT/12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. BST for a tweet jam that will discuss the future of the web as it relates to information flow, identity management and privacy in the context of “walled garden” networks such as Facebook and Google. We welcome Open Group members and interested participants from all backgrounds to join the session and interact with our panel of experts, including:

To access the discussion, please follow the #ogChat hashtag next Tuesday during the allotted discussion time. Other hashtags we recommend you using include:

  • Open Group Conference, Washington, D.C.: #ogDCA
  • Facebook: #fb (Twitter account: @facebook)
  • Google: #google (Twitter account: @google)
  • Identity management: #idM
  • Mobile: #mobile
  • IT security: @ITsec
  • Semantic web: #semanticweb
  • Walled garden: #walledgarden
  • Web 2.0: #web20

Below is a list of the questions that will be addressed during the hour-long discussion:

  1. In the context of the World Wide Web, why has there been a shift from the open Internet to portals, apps and walled environments?
  2. How has this trend affected privacy and control? Do users have enough control over their IDs and content within walled garden networks?
  3. What has been the role of social and mobile in developing walled gardens? Have they accelerated this trend?
  4. Can people use the Internet today without joining a walled garden network? What does this say about the current web?
  5. Is there any way to reconcile the ideals of the early web with the need for companies to own information about users?
  6. What Web 2.0 lessons learned should be implemented into the next iteration of the web?

And for those of you who are unfamiliar with tweet jams, here is some background information:

What Is a Tweet Jam?

A tweet jam is a one hour “discussion” hosted on Twitter. The purpose of the tweet jam is to share knowledge and answer questions on a chosen topic. Each tweet jam is led by a moderator (Dana Gardner) and a dedicated group of experts to keep the discussion flowing. The public (or anyone using Twitter interested in the topic) is free (and encouraged!) to join the discussion.

Participation Guidance

Whether you’re a newbie or veteran Twitter user, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Have your first #ogChat tweet be a self-introduction: name, affiliation, occupation.
  • Start all other tweets with the question number you’re responding to and the #ogChat hashtag.
    • Sample: “Q4 People can still use the Internet without joining a walled garden, but their content exposure would be extremely limited #ogChat”
  • Please refrain from product or service promotions. The goal of a tweet jam is to encourage an exchange of knowledge and stimulate discussion.
  • While this is a professional get-together, we don’t have to be stiff! Informality will not be an issue!
  • A tweet jam is akin to a public forum, panel discussion or Town Hall meeting – let’s be focused and thoughtful.

If you have any questions prior to the event, please direct them to Rod McLeod (rmcleod at bateman-group dot com). We anticipate a lively chat on July 10 and hope you will be able to join!

Patricia Donovan is Vice President, Membership & Events, at The Open Group and a member of its executive management team. In this role she is involved in determining the company’s strategic direction and policy as well as the overall management of that business area. Patricia joined The Open Group in 1988 and has played a key role in the organization’s evolution, development and growth since then. She also oversees the company’s marketing, conferences and member meetings. She is based in the US.

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