Distributed Social Networking for the Web Citizen

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Chris Messina presented about DiSo.

DiSo is a project founded by Steve Ivy and Chris Messina, built on top of WordPress. The project aims to explore the design of a distributed social network using many of the building blocks the blog software already supports, while leveraging technologies like XMPP and XFN for friendslist federation and message delivery.

Social networking is not all about the add. It’s not about stupid apps. It started out with niches, MySpace – bands, Facebook – college students, LinkedIn – professionals. They were all system centric views of social networks. This causes the view of system centric value, not people centric value. The internet is much bigger than any sytem out there. We should not consider users to be customers.

We need to move from system centric view to a citizen centric view of the world. Who are web citizens? They have identities, they have provenance, they have friends, they have agency.

What are the aspects of a distributed social network. It has a home for your data. It has the ability to manage the data. Systems should subscribe to me. I should not have to subscribe to them. There needs to be flexible permission systems.

Benefits from a distributed model. Cross pollination of value from different systems. A more up to date profile that makes it more valuable to other systems. Permission for everyone to build based upon the profile. Easier upgrade path.

Components of a DiSo site. Activity feeds are proliferating. Ability to publish friends list and ability to move it around. Messaging and notifications are critical components. Filters to handle flood of messages. Standardization of terms and permissions. Groups, grouping and events that put the user in charge. Identity consolidation and rel-me.

Technologies that are available: OPenID, Microformats, OAuth, XRDS-Simple,ATOM/APP, Jabber/XMPP

Current status: Starting with WordPress because it’s PHP and there was an existing OpenID plugin they could use. You can find out more at Diso-project.org

Update: Here are the slides

[tags]gspwest08, graphing social, DiSo, Chris Messina[/tags]

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3 thoughts on “Distributed Social Networking for the Web Citizen

  1. I think the growth will be in the use of smaller, more focused, niche social networks that cater to a particular interest, hobby or vocation. These smaller sites will allow like-minded individuals and groups to connect, exchange ideas and receive genuine and useful support.

    These kinds of sites will also be attractive to advertisers as they get targeted demographics to spend their online advertising budgets on.

    Thanks to sites such as ning, anyone can start a niche social network about anything. There’s also a search engine to help find niche social networks that lists thousands of networks for a whole range of subjects, http://findasocialnetwork.com