Blog software vendor Six Apart this afternoon posted a long rumination, with video, on the "social graph" and how vendors should relate to it. The social graph is the network of your networks, all your accounts and friends across multiple online social networks and other sites you participate on.
The company is clearly full of great ideas that unfortunately get a maddeningly geeky explanation today on the Six Apart blog. There's an experimental product alluded to as well, but that's not being released right now.
The whole manifesto-lengthed blog post is worth a read, but he best part is the statement of the following principles.
- You should own your social graph
- Privacy must be done right by placing control in your hands
- It is good to be able to find out what is already public about you on the Internet
- Everyone has many social graphs, and they shouldn't always be connected
- Open technologies are the best way to solve these problems
That's really nice to read from a software vendor. I wish decision makers at Google said things like that. Someday the social graph and all of our Attention Data are going to be brought together and those are some great statements to serve as a policy foundation.
Six Apart (LiveJournal at least) is by many accounts the birthplace of OpenID and they do a lot of very innovative work still. I hope that they can quickly translate this work on the social graph into something more accessible; that's something the OpenID community still struggles with.
For now, though, we'll have to all get up on our bidirectional XFN links, FOAF and hCard so we can ride towards the glorious sunset of user-controlled data portability and a better experience online. To think that I just found the kickstand on my TCP/IP.
That said, it's a great start. For some more accessible background on the questions raised by Six Apart, micro-format and Identity savvy dude Chris Messina recommends checking out the social network portability discussion at microformats.org, Robert Gaal's Making OpenID Your Only Online Profile and The Future of Everything is Social: Consolidate and take back your social network at the blog Four Starters. Mark those puppies "to read" because this stuff is here to stay.