a window into my world.

Cloud Communities

by Benjamin Anderson 20. December 2008 21:08

Today in technology, one of the most used terms when talking about the progression of computations and technology is “cloud computing” and hosting in the cloud.  “The Cloud” is simply the internet.  It’s the vague-void that exists outside of your physical domain of control.  As a “technologist”, the cloud is something that we have to work with on a daily basis.  It is something that we have to think about, plan around, evaluate and dream about. 

The Web 2.0 movement is often anchored to the social network movement.  At its origins, the social network movement starts long before the Internet became a house hold “utility”.  Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) were used back in the dialup days to link similarly minded technology users with each other and allowed them to chat, post messages, share files and commune with each other.  Then Internet Services Portals and Providers arrived on the scene, and these groups got a little bigger, but were still fairly confined to their physical, local networks of users.  Such services were Prodigy, CompuServe, MSN, and AOL here in the US.  These services took the BBS communities and expanded them to multifaceted groups and allowed for a broader and more general connection with others.  These services offered Bulletin Boards (forums), chat rooms, portal pages with shared links and groups, and eventually instant message services.  Eventually we ended up with generalized Internet access with the Social Networks being completely independent of our access and locations.  MySpace and a slew of other services similar to it have been around since the beginning of connectivity, but within the last year or two, these communities have become the focus of our technology and Internet worlds.

Today, the social networks are just a single companies service.  The “Web 2.0” movement pushed the existing social networks to open up, which makes them less a website or service and more of a platform.  Twitter isn’t a site or a single service in its actual use and significance, it’s the backbone of a network of tools and teams that are evolving our communications and connectivity with everyone around the world.  The communities are now longer just on a couple of servers owned and controlled by a single company that created the platform.  The community itself begins to move, migrate and evolve into a cloud community.

Projects like Open-ID and the other single login movements are not new, but they have not have a fundamental backing or purpose until now.  The lines of ownership are beginning to blur when it comes to the communities.  At the moment Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, MSN, Google, and Yahoo all own the communities and their basis, but in a year or two the dependency on even those services themselves might dissolve.  During this erosion of ownership, there will also be an increase is anonymity and a laps in privacy.  The increase in the ability to bounce around means that not a single corporation will have all of your community records and activity, but at the same time, you will be tagged and traced by a single identity that will uniquely flag you and spot light you in the world-wide crowd.

Your actions in one community and forum can be traced and follow you around to every other community and forum.  Unless you create multi identities, which defeats the purpose of the network, you will have to begin to deal with the consequences of immature and rude behavior.  Trolling would become less carefree, since the actions towards one group would begin to have consequences in the groups that you care about.

There are thousands of people that hate the idea of having a single ID system for those simple facts.  But the reality of the situation in communities is that we are heading that way, and we will end up using it.  The selfish desires of the individual will become less powerful and important on the Internet, just as they have in every other evolution of a society since the dawn of man-kind.  For the health and safety of the community, more and more groups will become more dependent on open identification systems, and even global blacklists.

For individuals that blog and depend on their online personality to make a living, the single identity for multiple communities and sites is a very promising and exciting idea.  It provides the individual the ability to carry over their influence into other groups without having to build it back up as much as they currently do with completely independent sites.  Your title and influence will be linked to your following and the already existing network of contacts.

How do you feel about the impact of the use of open identification systems and single login prospects?  I have very mixed feelings about them.  But the more I evaluate the results and potential of the systems, the more I’m excited about the possibilities.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Social Networking


I review for BookSneeze

About the author

Benjamin is a software developer in the DFW area.  He spends his free time playing video games, programming, doing graphics design and photography, and reading.

Month List

Page List

    Widget BookShelf not found.

    The file '/Blog/widgets/BookShelf/widget.ascx' does not exist.X