The Forrest of Silos problem I describe in the last post is exactly what Josh Marshall of TPM is dealing with when he says (correctly) “there’s no single digital news publishing model” — and what Dave Winer also correctly talks about here.)
Every publisher requiring a login/password, or using ‘social logins’ such as those provided by Facebook and Twitter, is living in an administrative hell that burns no less because it’s normative in the extreme. That every pub has its own login/pw, subscription system and/or social login is a perfect example of centralized systems failing to solve the problems of centralization.
We need decentralized solutions: ones that work first at the personal level and after that at the social and organizational ones. Only by starting with the individual will we get:
- One standard way that any one of us can subscribe, and manage subscriptions, for any number of publications, using tools and services that any variety of providers can offer, but any one of us can leave for other tools and providers.
- One standard way that we can change our address, phone number, email, last name or other personal data, for every publication we deal with, at once. We can do that, for example, in our own personal cloud — a standards-based one that’s ours alone, using open code at the base level. (A bonus link about that.)
- One standard way we can advertise our own wants, needs and other intentions to the marketplace, securely, with minimized fear of surveillance or other offenses to our privacy.
None of that can be done with yet another centralized private service such as we get today from Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter.
I’ve believed since long before I co-wrote Cluetrain that distributed and decentralized personal tools were the only way to solve the problems of centralization and create countless new opportunities for personal, social and economic growth in the world. It’s why I started ProjectVRM, and why we have a growing list of developers working to liberate individuals and prove that free customers are worth more than captive ones.
I believed in this work because we already see it proven in the world by personal computers, the Internet and its liberating standards and protocols. Those are decentralized too. All I’m talking about here is standing new solutions on top of those old shoulders.
This is not to knock anything social, by the way. Of course we are social beings. But we are also, as individuals, decentralized, except to ourselves. That’s what I (and others, such as Devon Loffreto) mean when we talk about (for example) sovereign identity.
None of us will solve the Forest of Silos problem by creating bigger and better silos, or by making them ore “centric” toward individuals.
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