But then, in the intervening time, I became a Facebook addict, which undermined, somewhat, the soapbox upon which I'd intended to stand. (It's fun! Join up! Be my Facebook friend!)
So, thankfully, iPete came to my rescue, sending me a link to an awesome BBC News article by internet law professor Michael Geist. Instead of getting all boorish and philosophical like I would have done, Geist makes the case pretty concisely and compellingly, in terms of self-interest:
The irony of the current generation of online social networks is that although their premise is leveraging the internet to connect people, their own lack of interconnectedness is stifling their potential.Read the whole article if you're interested in this sort of thing, but I hope the social networking corporate decision makers are listening to Michael Geist.
Some services may believe that it is in their economic interest to stick to a walled garden approach; however, given the global divisions within the social networking world, the mix of language, user preferences, and network effects, it is unlikely that one or two services will capture the global marketplace. The better approach - for users and the sites themselves - would be to work towards a world of interoperable social networking