There have been concerns about privacy and safe management of user data since day one of the social networking phenomenon.
Unfortunately, these concerns have been buried underneath the fascination with the exploding popularity of sites like Facebook
There are many projects and initiatives aimed at safe and innovative ways to allow users to take their personal data with them. But consensus was that until one of the larger players in the social networking got involved, these initiatives would be little more than wishful thinking.
It is amazing how quickly consensus can change as Google, Plaxo, and Facebook announced today that they would contribute to the Data Portability Workgroup
While I am hesitant to say "today could be a very important day in the history of the internet" like Marshall Kirkpatrick did when he broke the story
on ReadWriteWeb, I do believe there is much to be excited about.
That is, if you believe that social networking is more than just a passing fad.