An interesting and creative group of people is coming together today in Amsterdam at Mediamatic.
The event Federating Social Networks is described on Upcoming as:
In all the buzz around social network portability, this one-day workshop will explore how social network services and Content Management Services can work together in a so-called federation. With a few presentation setting the stage in the morning, the rest of the day we will discuss the different protocols, formats and agreements needed to make such a federation possible.
Topics touched upon include:
* Aggregration of people, their profile information and works on other services.
* Migration and consolidation of people and their works.
* The ability to form relationships between people and works across services.
* Timely and efficient notification of changes.
* Distributed search.

I can’t attend, as we will be in Emden (Germany) today. But in a conversation with James Burke this week I talked about the kind of things I would like to be part of this portability concept.
What interests me most about portability is not the ability to take ‘my network’ out of one platform and migrate to another platform. I would expect easy im- and export, as well as a format for storage in between (when I don’t directly migrate to another platform) to be par for the course. Even if that is a big challenge by itself.
What interests me the most however is what I can do in between platforms. I want to own my data, something I have been talking about before. I would like to propose a type of portability that its reasoning from me being the starting point. A client that puts me in the driving seat of all events in all my current hangouts (the platforms), makes me the owner of the dataset. I own my landscape and must be able to decide how the different translations to maps can be manipulated.
Then I can push different representations of my social network into the platforms I deem fit. I decide on the maps that I give to the platforms in short.
This also introduces interesting possible functionality like:
1) I see you have tried to friend me on Facebook
2) Where I think LinkedIn would be a better hangout for us
3) I then enter into a negotiation with you in which hangout and context we want to connect.
4) In the end we decide to connect on Plaxo Pulse instead.
5) We both now publish that connection on the map we both push out to Plaxo Pulse.
I realise that this calls for a very high granularity of trust/access for different people in different contexts in different platforms, on different moments. A big challenge, but who says I can’t dream.
I would like portability to mean practical and functional acknowledgement that me and my buddies are the landscape, and that the platforms we use are mere maps.
(Live coverage on the Jaiku channel #fsn)

2 reactions on “Federating Social Networks

  1. The concept of federating social *sites* is very distinct from that of federating social networks, in that the first is possible (and in all liklihood what will be discussed at the conference) while the second is impossible, as networks, properly so-called, are not the sort of entity that can federate.

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