The infamous Seinfeld line “Master of My Domain” comes to mind when I learn of a new upcoming social network ( to debut summer 2008 ) called Chi.mp. My first impression was “Do we really need another social network?” Isn’t there enough social networks to numb the mind causing further social network fatigue? At least that’s how I feel when I read the unending stream of posts at sites like Techcrunch, they are a blur and rarely stands out.
The same goes for the numerous data portability standards or solutions, there are just so many of them out there solving the same problem over and over again and not going anywhere. At this point data portability isn’t about lack of technology, it is about too much technology and not enough consensus, which is why I think DataPortability.org came about with a goal to bring consensus, at least that’s the idea, execution will determine success or failure. Which leads me to wonder how did some of these standards rose above the fray and got adopted by the community, standards like openID, OAuth, microformats are some examples. Perhaps more thoughts on this later in another post – feel free to share if you have any thoughts on this.
So back to Chi.mp. I learned about it from a CNet post The Web 2.0 economy hangs in limbo talking about Mashable enlisting Chi.mp to throw a party like it was 1999 (Prince and first internet boom comes to mind) all over again. Digging further leads me to Chi.mp’s blog, ownyouridentity.com. At first glance, the first post Feudalism 2.0 (or serfing the web) gave me pause for “seriously, another social network? Argh”.
However, once one of the founder (Tony Haile) clarified for me how Chi.mp is different than other solutions like People Aggregator or Ringside social application platform, a light bulb went off for me. Chi.mp’s basic premise is that instead of relying on social networks like MySpace or Facebook to host your profile and your relationship goodness keeping you and your friends prisoner behind their walled gardens, you host “you” on Chi.mp. This is done by you having your own domain, e.g., bobngu.com, that is mine and only mine. Social networks can then interact with your domain to gain access to your identity, profile, and friends information at your discretion. Now you see why the expression “Master of My Domain” comes to mind for Chi.mp. IMO this is disruptive technology and a great next step in data portability. Chi.mp also claims to make it open so that I can take my information to another service provider if I don’t like their service. Great stuff.
On a personal note, I am not enamored with the domain name “Chi.mp”, I know it is short for “Content Hub and Identity Management Platform” but Chi.mp makes me feel like an un-evolved user who is only capable of pushing buttons or doing menial tasks for rewards. Plus Content Hub and Identity Management Platform is just well too geeky (even though I am a geek) for my taste. Now, “Master of My Domain” that’s something a non-geeky user can relate to, not to mention it’s a double (or is it triple) entendre. Interestingly enough, I started having some new startup ideas of my own that could be potential partners to something like Chi.mp, I registered and got the domain name vanitybadge.com before I learn of Chi.mp, coincidence or fate? I would relish the opportunity to work with them.