There are two steps to open-data epiphany : support the OpenStack for your users data is the first step. I would argue though that this is not enough : if I tell you that all your data is available for you (or apps that want to get it – with your authorization -) to take it, it’s great, but it’s less than ideal if you have data in tens of different apps.
It’s like putting a treasure on Mars and tell you : hey, if you get there, it’s yours, if you can come and get it
The second step is to actually tell you : your data is available for you (or these apps), and I will push it to you (them), so it’s available in theory and in practice. And that is what protocols like PubSubHubbub and XMPP are for : not only the data is available, but it’s sent away.
It’s pretty common to oppose openness and business. A lot of services see openness as a threat to their growth/profitability, and generally will see openness and general wellness of their business as incompatible. This is wrong, I believe that sending data away is a an amazing driver for growth.
Here is a simple use case. Let’s say I plug Gowalla into my Google profile. Everytime I check in somewhere, it will show up in Google Buzz. My google buzz friends will see this, and may even sign-in for Gowalla if they like what they see.
My point is that, by letting your users ‘own’ their data, you will turn them into evangelists for your service. If I like what I do with your social app (be it posting pictures, watching videos, sharing links), then, please, let me show it to my friends, let me leave a footprint of this activity anywhere on the web. The more (legit!) data you send away, the more users will come.
This does not mean that you have to send any information without my consent, but please, at least ask me if I want to share my information and if I say yes, let me do it.
Time for a shameless plug: Superfeedr hosts hubs, we can host one for you. If you want to give a shot at opening your data, please, get in touch!