Nathaniel and I just had breakfast with John McCrea of Plaxo. His thesis: Facebook is the AOL of the social internet. The key similarities: both Facebook and AOL were walled gardens in their early days. Since the open Internet eventually beat the walled garden Internet, he concludes that Facebook must continue to open up, radically, or face a similar fate as AOL.
I think that the analogy has some validity. Yet, there are important differences. As I pointed out in our conversation, social relationships can generate interactions and collaborative artifacts among people. Who controls those things? There is no analogy for these social interactions and artifacts on the traditional client/server Internet.
So, cruise on over to his blog to follow an advocate of the open social Internet. And time will tell if his bold prediction comes to pass!