Portable Social Networks

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Today, most social networking sites are 'walled gardens' and silo's, so that individuals must maintain a great number of different social networks, unable to share that information.

So the concept of 'portable' social networks refers to the portability of this type of contact and relationship data.


Read Brian Oberkirch's articles at http://www.brianoberkirch.com/category/portablesocialnetworks/

Summary of the basic building blocks at http://www.brianoberkirch.com/2007/08/08/building-blocks-for-portable-social-networks/

See the Social Network Portability faq at http://microformats.org/wiki/social-network-portability


The Friend of a Friend project at http://www.foaf-project.org/:

"The Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project is creating a Web of machine-readable pages describing people, the links between them and the things they create and do.

FOAF is about your place in the Web, and the Web's place in our world. FOAF is a simple technology that makes it easier to share and use information about people and their activities (eg. photos, calendars, weblogs), to transfer information between Web sites, and to automatically extend, merge and re-use it online."


Dave Winer on why Open ID is not the solution

"There are enormous economic incentives for companies that run social networks to not let users of other networks access their services. Shareholder value is a function of how many users they have, how they are "monetized" and how hard it is to switch. The harder it is to switch, the more money each user is worth. Any exec that did anything to decrease the number of users they control would probably be fired. So anything that depends on this isn't very likely to happen, in existing networks.

However, a network that, from Day One, allows users of other networks to participate, and allows developers to access user's data, with the user's permission, but without permission from the network, may become the www of open identity systems. As much as it is considered politically incorrect in the tech world to say this, don't bet on OpenID being that network. You would have gotten roasted in 1991 for saying OpenDoc wasn't the future, but it wasn't. For the same reasons OpenID isn't." (http://www.scripting.com/2007/08.html)

Listen to David Winer on Portable Social Networks

More Information

Some commentary and proposals on the issue:

  1. http://adactio.com/journal/1212/
  2. http://www.boxofchocolates.ca/archives/2006/11/21/solving-problems-with-social-networking
  3. http://www.gyford.com/phil/writing/2006/11/19/your_single_soci.php

Related Projects

  1. Open ID: how is it related to portability?, at http://microformats.org/wiki?title=openid-brainstorming
  2. Microformats: how is it related to portability?, see at http://microformats.org/wiki/social-network-portability
  3. XFN
  4. Social Graphs