LIFT08: Kevin Marks (Google Open Social: The Social Cloud) [en]

Insert standard disclaimer about live notes.

LIFT08 168

The cloud is an abstraction, because we don’t want to think about what’s in between, or inside the cloud.

Send a message anywhere, and it’ll come out at the other end.

For Andrew Marks, Kevin’s son, the net is just part of the world. The older generation sees the net as a big cloud of poison gas. Has an impact on how we deal with the social software environment.

We assume e-mail is there and part of the web, but for the young generation it’s there to talk to adults, not really exciting. Standard boring stuff.

Their blog or their social network is “them”, but not their e-mail.

URLs are people too. Some of these pages on the internet are people. My blog is me. Links between these websites which are people are in fact expressing relationships. XFN.

Social Graph API: finds the websites that can be treated as people, and returns “me” and “friend” links between them. XFN + FOAF + Google crawler.

Problem: too many social networks!! Problem for the developers too! Need to make people sign up again, and tell who their friends are, etc…

“I want my own private island!”

The Social Graph API can help you find the friends you have on another site in the new system. Tell Twitter what your homepage is, and then Twitter will go and look up people-URLs who are linked to your homepage and in the Twitter system already, and assist you in making those connections. Finding me and my public friends on the web.

In social network land: “my friends are all here already, I’m quite happy on MySpace, don’t want to emigrate!” BUT my relationships aren’t all public, and change depending on what I’m here to do.

We put clouds around things so we don’t have to think about them. Registration, creating links between users…

OpenSocial is putting clouds around things that you don’t want to have to worry about. Take your application where the people are.

A third thing we need to worry about it: the nature of relationships. As danah boyd says, people don’t break friend links on a social networking site, except if there has been a messy break-up. Nothing less severe than that really justifies un-friending people. But when people get fed-up, they lose their password or destroy their profile, and create a new one from scratch with fewer friends. steph-note: like people used to do with blogrolls 5 years ago.

Technology mustn’t be perfect.

XFN isn’t subtle enough to render the relationships in Pride and Prejudice.

LIFT08 172

Douglas Adams: “Of course you can’t trust what people tell you on the web, not more than you can trust what people tell you megaphones… etc” 1999

The abstraction (trust, friendship, context) is in your head. It’s not explicit. The software never has a chance to understand this.

OpenSocial puts a cloud around social networking sites, the details of people, friends, etc. In the future, users could assume that your software will know about your friends, relationships, profile information. Could be implicit. In the cloud. An abstraction that any piece of software could use.

In the same way, the abstraction layer in your head provides information that you use in a way in any social software. steph-note: not sure I got that last bit right.

You can (and should) watch Kevin’s LIFT08 talk on video.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *