Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who owns my address book?

There is a simple answer to that question: I do. I own my address book. You own yours. The question should really be: "Who will control my address book?"

I am speaking tomorrow on a panel at the ThinkMobile conference in NYC. The title of the panel is - you guessed it - Who owns my address book?

This is an interesting subject. As Facebook just announced Facebook Connect for iPhone and Twitter announces Open Authentication (OAuth) support it is pretty clear that there is a battle for my identity.

And that's really what this is about. It's a question of who controls my identity. A part of my identity is who I am connected to. My address book, or to use social-web speak, my social graph, is an important part of who I am. This is really just the beginning though, because the really interesting data turns out not to be who is in my social graph, but who I interact with.

Therefore step one in the social graph wars is controlling my identity. Once you control my identity you become my passport (MSFT pun intended) for signing in. Next you become my social coordinator, helping me stay in touch with my friends from anywhere. And finally you become my event coordinator and activity tracker. At this point you know who I am, who I know, who I talk to where I go (on the web and in real life) and presumably where I live too.

If that's not the holy grail of marketing information then I don't know what is. Check out my February post Who owns you(r electronic soul)? for more thoughts on the subject.

More during my panel talk tomorrow.

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