December 16, 2003
One More Walled-Garden Problem

Jon Udell identifies one of the biggest problems with walled-garden social networks liked LinkedIn, Ryze,, etc.: their dependence on users to provide metadata to describe anything that happened outside the closed system, and the inherent difficulty the system has with defining the right set of metadata.

Open systems (like the Web) don’t suffer from this problem, because nodes within them can reach out and create context by looking at other nodes. (Google being the canonical example of this.) But inside the walled garden, that option doesn’t exist, so the only way the system gets smarter is if the users explicitly mark it up — a tedious and error-prone process that people just don’t like participating in.

One more data point reinforcing my belief that as long as these systems stay closed, they’ll never grow to be much more than niche applications.

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at December 16, 2003
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Ant's Eye View is edited by Jason Lefkowitz, a consultant and Web developer in Alexandria, Virginia. Got a question, comment, or concern? Let me hear it!

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