I have recently attended a talk by Chris Messina where he pointed out some interesting issues with the existing social networks. We invest a lot of time on them, we establish a network of friends, exchange ideas, share photos, videos and comments. What happens when that social network ceases to exist? Who owns the data? Why I cannot export my data and bring them to another social network? We lack standards and the willingness of social networks to let us easily switch from one to another. Chris is trying to address those problems and is spreading his vision.
See the video of one of his presentations:
Identity is the Platform from Chris Messina on Vimeo.
and one related and interesting presentation by Jyri Engeström co-founder of Jaiku, which was acquired by Google in 2007.