Networks don’t have people. People have networks.

"Networks don’t have people.  People have networks." – Demian Entrekin

Was having dinner with Demian earlier this week, and the quote above was a pure moment of clarity.  He is absolutely, 100% right.  And, in those seven words, I think he summed up the next five years of our industry. 

Other data points:

Doc writes: "We have many relationships online. All of them, however, are defined and controlled (sometimes from both sides) within each company’s silo. What we don’t have are personally controlled global approaches to relationship, including privacy variables."

Dave McClure writes: "’Web 3.0′ is the condition which exists when someone is always ‘logged in’ on the web, and can move from site to site without ever having to re-enter a username/password."

And Kevin Werbach brings it home: "One of the key questions for the Network Age is the interplay of aggregation and fragmentation…should we own our own identity though some user-centric ID model? Will change happen top-down, or bottom-up?"

The points above seem to point in a clear direction.  We’re heading to an inflection point that is as significant as the move from mainframe to PC.

Having my information (social network connections, preferences, purchase history, etc.) stored in someone else’s silo makes no sense.  Having my information stored in (literally) dozens of silos makes even less sense.  (Yes, dozens.  Think about it.  Your information is in Facebook, and LinkedIn, and innumerable CRM systems like Salesforce — one for each vendor you deal with — and in Visa’s systems, and in…you get the point.)

The right point of integration is around the individual.  Each of us is the center of our own universe.


(image credit goes to the inimitable david armano.  cross-posted to the conversation hub.)

7 Replies to “Networks don’t have people. People have networks.”

  1. it’s just a matter of time before we start demanding our data back. When you can’t own our data you have to engage in ongoing conversation in order to ‘know’ what we want.
    You’re right to point out it’s an important moment.
    I’ve come to the recent conclusion that ownership of data (and reliance upon this) puts you at a structural disadvantage in the networked world.
    I’ve tried to explain this here.
    At it’s guts this is all about activating the value of Reed’s Law by enabling conversations.

  2. Great points in this post, and something I’ve been thinking about for a little while. In the current model, we give our personal info away, permanently and for free. It’s why Facebook (for example) has been having trouble — it takes ownership of pieces of you.

    Kevin Werbach’s thinking is along the same lines I’ve considered. I’d go into more detail right now, but (1) I’m at the office doing my paying job, (2) I need to put a little more thought into what I want to say, and (3) I want it up on my blog, not your comments page. :-p

  3. Are You a Social Media Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde (or both)?

    Thank you, Mack Collier, for your Social Media is Making Extroverts of Us All post. This is something I’ve been thinking about in recent months and the following is my stream-of-consciousness thinking on the topic. I set up my first blog through blogge…

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