Sunday, 7 September 2008

Social Network Portability

Attended the Dconstruct conference last week and as last time I'll try to process the information I got from it over the next few weeks. As I am also attending BathCamp next week I will start with the talks that have any kind of potential connection with my BathCamp presentation.

Tantek Çelik gave an interesting talk on Social Network Portability a brief summary of which is provided by Tom Hume.

The point Tom makes that there may be instances where we don't want to share aspects of ourselves between different social sites is one that immediately came to my mind also. In my case an excellent example is when using some social sites for language learning. I don't see this a significant barrier though, unless I am mistaken in the application side of things, a profile page that you create on a social site is not going to be able to make those connections or allow others to make them unless you provide the initial link into your social network, it will still be easy to create completly separate identities. Also the connection to your identities on other social sites will be limited to public information.

The basic aims that Tantek initially expressed certainly need to be addressed, my own AHA moment recently came whilst using the microblogging service at, thanks to the openmicroblogging specification I was able to follow a user on simply by adding the url of his profile page. The exchange of avatar icons and who is following, being followed by who happened automatically (try doing that on Twitter).

I guess at that moment the microblogging AHA moment sums up my interest in this area (although I have not looked under the hood I don't thing it uses the same technology Tantek was discussing), unless I am doing something at work that is impacted by Social Network Portability then I will leave the implementation and specifications to others and wait to see how it affects me. I have installed the Operator Firefox extension for microformats and so far it doesn't appear that much if anything I am using online is using them (or if it is, then it doesn't impact what I am doing).

Information on the technologies that Tantek discussed can be found here on the microformat wiki.

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