MWS and Managing One’s Social Graph

It has been a while since touching on the topic of the Mobile Web Server (MWS); and for good reason – I really miss that platform. Ownership of your own data, and ability to manage your mobile from any web browser, and the ability to connect to other people with an open platform is the kind of power that we should have in this connected generation.

We don’t have it. Companies tend to make a heady profit in not just being the broker of social connections, but also the owners of the data within them. It could be different – it should be. Given the recent issues with Facebook and privacy settings and methodologies, it should be different.

I was sparked to write because of a comment over at an article on Life Blog. I’m posing the comment here because it deserves additional thought on my end, and could use opinion from yours:

Until February of this year, I had been using Nokia’s Mobile Web Server ( for doing just what you are talking about in terms of managing one’s own social graph. Because I was aware of, and not willing to compromise to, the terms of service for FB and several others services, I found it one part a challenge and another part very freeing to have my own platform – and then try and work with people – literally network with them – so that they could access my content streams on my terms.

Unfortunately, Nokia shut down the gateway for the Mobile Web Server service. And there was little noise made with the MWS because “Facebook could do it” and other similar comments.

I still feel that given our use of mobile and social technologies, that such a platform has a veritable approach, and should be explored by many. Yes, there’s the issue of “what happens to this server when my mobile’s battery dies,” but really, I don’t know that it should be a concern. The way the MWS was designed, for example, connecting my device to MS Exchange took more battery life than running the server. And the open platform that it was built on (Apache, Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) meant that I could essentially have my own content management system (like a Blogger/Typepad/Wordpress and a Flickr, and a personal web-enabled Outlook) that I could intentionally share with others.

It was ahead of its time. And unfortunately, closed down before this brooha happened. I miss it (badly). Others will pine for it when they realize what is possible.