I've heard a lot lately from executives at the highest levels at vendors that do not run large social networks. They might be more traditional media companies, telecommunication companies, device manufactures etc. There are a few common and resounding themes from those conversations so I thought I would share them here:
- The issue of data portability has only recently crossed their radar and it's something they are very keen in getting involved with. They have heard about it either from the a-tier blogs or mainstream publications like the Washington Post or Wall Street Journal.
- They had heard of OpenID, Microformats or the Semantic Web but never quite understood what the business or user experience imperative was. They have each asked me to pass on my thanks to the DataPortability project for coining a phrase and an organization that has helped to shape the core set of technologies into a cohesive story.
- They have also expressed a concern that big social networking vendors can not, and should not be able to run the table on what is (and must continue to become) essentially a user-centric solution.
- They tend to look to the DataPortability project as a sort of independent lobby group that can bring disparate industry players together to create a grass-roots, standards based solution.
- They have asked how they can help.
I explain to them how the group works, how the standards groups before us have created many of the technologies and how we are proud to lobby on behalf of our community to shape and promote data portability best practices. And then I point them to the 'Get Involved' wiki page.
This is, of course, very gratifying feedback and I look forward to having more conversations with similar organizations in the coming weeks.