Imagine an internet where you could only send emails to people who used the same email provider as you, or only view websites that are hosted on your internet provider's servers. Naturally these barriers go against the principles of the internet, and thankfully those days are long gone. Well nearly.
Unbelievably many people still use instant messaging and other networks which lock them in, and prevent them from chatting with their friends on other networks (except where certain “business deals” are made). This is against the spirit of freedom of choice, and works in favour of the network providers, not you, the user.
So imagine an IM network where you are able to choose where you want your account, and who your contacts are. You are in control, you can even run your own server if you want to!