Originally posted at ZDNet by Tiernan Ray

The thing that makes the Internet the Internet is that everything connects. And the reason that everything connects is because almost everything on the Internet has an address. An Ethernet port that connects a computer to the network has what’s called a “MAC” address. A host computer is reachable via an IP address. And servers each have a URL so they can be contacted.

All of these forms of address are the result of what are called protocols. Protocols, the central achievement of the Internet, are an agreement about how things will be addressed so that everything can to be reached. They are protocols because they are not owned by anyone, they are agreed to by everyone who wants to participate, and they are universal.

But human beings don’t have a protocol on the Internet. To the extent that people on the Internet connect to one another as people, it is only via private databases. People only interact to the extent that one party, the owner of that database, allows them to interact.

Facebook is the social graph of people’s identities, created and kept inside a private database. Twitter is the information graph of people’s interests, created and kept inside a private database…

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