Tuesday, July 29, 2003

From the In Box: NetWork VIII

What we really need is a common data format for all of these different services to manipulate and "decorate" (in the pattern-language sense).

Well, we have that common data format: FoaF. It would be cool if these sites let you export/import your friends list as an FoaF file. It wouldn't be hard at all.

Well maybe not that cool; I don't really use those sites that much. But it would be the "right way to do it".
-- Joe Germuska

I guess I'm not as concerned about porting my networks from social software service to social software service, as I tend to use different ones for different purposes -- and have slightly different networks as a result. But I'd sure like a portable profile -- perhaps with an accompanying FoaF file since you mention it -- that I could swap out instead of signing up anew, creating a new profile page, and otherwise populating each new service as it emerges. Then we could truly navigate by person -- not by service. Even though I just canceled my premium subscription to Ecademy, I'm still a member of Friendster, Ryze, LinkedIn, and the Buddy Network, which I haven't revisited since I signed up in May. That's a lot of disconnected networks. And networks shouldn't be disconnected.

As more and more of these services emerge, the more I think that Duncan Work is onto something with his Net Deva project. In the past, I wasn't convinced I needed a portable profile for the various online communities and discussion forums I frequent, but the more I think about all these new online networking and social software services, the more I want one ID for all my overlapping networks. I said it in May, and I'll say it today: "As more of these services develop, it'll become increasingly important to bridge them."

Who's building that bridge?

No comments: