Ross Dawson has an excellent summary of a Gartner presentation on the Distributed Social Web by David Cearley. A web where each participant is their own central node on a web-wide social network. It is the only natural conclusion of the vision of Data Portability.
It will be made possible by a series of futurists, technologists, philanthropists and engineers developing core building blocks like OpenID, oAuth, APML, PortableContacts, XMPP, RSS/ATOM, OPML, Microformats and more.
It will be commercialized by a series of entrepreneurial start ups with stars in their eyes running in and around the feet of the giants who are each fighting each other to keep up. Startups like JS-Kit.
It will be fueled by traditional and not so traditional media companies, steered by young, idealistic intrapraneurs, who are willing to take a bet in order to stake their claim on the next generation of social networking and human communication.
It will be popularized by bloggers, smart IT journalists and conference organizers who understand the importance of open over closed.
We have already started to see a preview of the world to come via the early attempts at rudimentary aggregators and proprietary data portability implementations. This is just the beginning of the beginning.
For a more details around the emerging trends, check out Ross' post.