I'm giving the Flock Browser a trial run, and am posting this through its interface.
Blog entries are rather simplistic at the moment, but the del.icio.us integration is pretty nice, although I'm trying to get over my innate reservation over all of these shared resources. The benefits you have of sharing your recent activity outweighs my desire to be the owner of the services themselves.
Centralisation vs. decentralisation
My approach to anything related to the recoil.org domain Anil and I own was to build it ourselves. This was very much what was necessary when we bought it back in the late 90's, and it was also our chance to educate ourselves in what was required of basic unix systems administration.
Skip forward several years and here we are in 2005, year of networked social services. Small scale community aggregation sites like sn17 work well, but are limited to those individuals who can be bothered to explicitly arrange to take part.
The strength of flickr, del.icio.us, last.fm and all the rest of the other services that have sprung up has been in the amount of effort it takes to make social connections, and the effort involved in information derived from those connections to be displayed to you, the end user.
My problem is that I have no backup of the data held within their systems, unless the data was originally on a computer I own. This is true for a majority of the Flickr pictures, where I use an export program from iPhoto, but what of the ones sent via a mobile phone? I have no such protection against loss of data, or of more concern, changes in terms and conditions of the site. One particular example springs to mind, which was the ownership of CDDB entries, when the company went from offering what was in its databases for free, to a paid model. Many users were up in arms over this, but there was nothing that could be done.
I have the same fear in the back of my mind with all of these internet services, which stops me making extensive use of them, as much as I would if I felt my interests were entirely protected.