I find Facebook very annoying. I can't seem to make it do anything useful. It seems to get certain, key things stunningly wrong, assumptions which are disingenuous in my case and make it seem broken. I can't find any friends on it and I'm getting bombarded by junk which isn't applicable to me. I can't find options to do many of the things which I'm sure are possible.
However, I'm impressed with what Facebook is supposed to do. It's far and away the closest of the social networking sites to what Mauvespace aims to do. That in itself is interesting. I didn't invent very many of the concepts regarding what Mauvespace can do: many of the suggestions about the combined expressibility of RDF vocabularies come from the web. However, it occurs to me that a fair number of those might have been inspired by Facebook or others, and Mauvespace merely inherits those suggestions (albeit mostly unimplemented as yet).
Specifically, things like annotating not only pictures as depicting a person, but regions of pictures, are things that I've read specifically about in comments describing RDF ontologies. I'm surprised Facebook isn't semantic.
Still, several key factors differentiate Mauvespace as a social network even if it could do everything Facebook can (and the eventual plan is certainly to implement some of those things):
- It's open source.
- It's entirely themable.
- It's semantic.
- It's distributed and interoperable (as a result of being semantic).
Not all of these will matter to all people. Many people I've spoken to simply say "I'm interested, but only because I tried x and didn't like it." But regardless of what matters to other people, these things are exactly the most important things to me personally:
- I can make it work the way I want it to (as can anyone else).
- I can make it look as pretty as I like without resort to hackery (as can anyone else).
- I can use whatever data users make available in any way I see fit.
- No for-profit organisation controls my data, forces me to use their system to talk to my friends, forces my friends to use their system to talk to me, requires me to pay them money or requires me to view their ads.
I don't think any proprietary social networking site could ever meet these requirements. That is why Mauvespace exists. Or very soon will.