Smarr IIW Friends List Portability

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A Practical Vision for Friends-List Portability Joseph Smarr IIW 2007b, 12/5/2007

The problem: 

The problem Social networks keep friends-list data trapped Social apps don’t have access to who I know Little control over who I can share my data with Have to re-establish my friendships on each site  Too hard to stay on top of what the people I know are doing online

The fallout: 

The fallout Limited friends-list on most social apps Missing a lot of content from my friends Social apps desperate to get some friends-list Re-implementing webmail scrapers Building apps inside facebook’s platform Sometimes I’m too easy to find on sites e.g. hard to opt-out of being findable by email Sometimes I’m too hard to find on sites Generally can’t look up by homepage / URL

The vision: 

The vision A “facebook-like” platform for the Open Social Web Friends list = people you know from any site(s) you use User IDs = email / URLs from all services you know Social apps = running anywhere with same richness Services can still run their own external web sites Activity streams and profile badges show up in social networks Apps connect users and data across multiple services Manage relationships across multiple sites Meet someone new  choose where to connect Try new services  find out when your friends join Social app developers can “outsource” who you know

The building blocks: 

The building blocks Who am I? OpenID: prove that I own a URL / profile rel=me: these URLs describe the same person Who do I know? OAuth: securely share my (private) friends-list SixApart’s (public) relationship update stream How can I use my data? OpenSocial: cross-platform social applications FOAF, XFN, vCard: standard data interchanges

Building blocks: Who am I?: 

Building blocks: Who am I? Basic unit: “identifier” aim:josephsmarr =josephsmarr User’s role: managing their set of identifiers Which identifier(s) can reveal which others Which identifier(s) can I be found by per app

Building blocks: Who do I know?: 

Building blocks: Who do I know? Friends list = Set of identifiers I know Need portable list aggregated identifiers Often private data (need auth) Proposal: social sites should provide a persistent URL to your friends-list URL can contain OAuth token for private data Lists all identifiers you know Can be hashed for lookup-only uses

Building blocks: How can I use my data?: 

Building blocks: How can I use my data? Bring my list of identifiers to a new site Can be expanded by following rel=me links Persistent URL  can keep data in sync Match my known identifiers against the site’s list of “findable identifiers” per user Users need control over how they’re findable Find all people I know on new site Choose who to connect with and how per-site Add new site as source of friends-list data Site publishes MicroIDs for findable identifiers

A practical vision: 

A practical vision Clarity on roles and responsibilities Users = manage your identifiers (rel=me, findability) Social networks / applications Give users access to their friends-list data Let users control how they’re findable Provide lookup for findable identifiers Not revealing any new private information Just using existing info more effectively Built on existing, open technology standards OpenID, OAuth, XFN, MicroID, URIs Bridges lookup by e-mail address vs. URL

Room for everybody to win: 

Room for everybody to win Social networks become more powerful and relevant as they extend their reach e.g. facebook platform, Plaxo Pulse Social apps are easier to build and scale Can outsource “who you know” Better friends list  more compelling app Users can find and share more content Enhanced discovery, lower friction

Next steps: 

Next steps Clarify / propose basic specs for interop Get early adopters to implement it Watch for early results (usage, privacy) Feedback?

Online Identity Consolidator: 

Open-source rel=me crawler (    Online Identity Consolidator

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web: 

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web We publicly assert that all users of the social web are entitled to certain fundamental rights, specifically: Ownership of their own personal information, including: their own profile data the list of people they are connected to the activity stream of content they create; Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites. Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Michael Arrington, Robert Scoble

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web: 

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web Sites supporting these rights shall: Allow their users to syndicate their own profile data, their friends list, and the data that’s shared with them via the service, using a persistent URL or API token and open data formats; Allow their users to syndicate their own stream of activity outside the site; Allow their users to link from their profile pages to external identifiers in a public way; and Allow their users to discover who else they know is also on their site, using the same external identifiers made available for lookup within the service. Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Michael Arrington, Robert Scoble

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