Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

What's your interest in distributed social networking?

Sat, 02/23/2008 - 09:36 -- rprice

After watching Chris Messina's existential DiSo Interview, I decided to go check out a bit more about the distributed social networking stuff Chris and Steve Ivy have been working on - there are 160+ people on the mailing list now, and hundreds of threads.

Here's a little bit about the DiSo Project:

Social networks are becoming more open, more interconnected, and more distributed. Many of us in the web creation world are embracing and promoting web standards - both client-side and server-side. Microformats, standard apis, and open-source software are key building blocks of these technologies. This model can be described as having three sides/legs/arms/spokes - pick your connection: Information, Identity, and Interaction.

DiSo (dee • zoh) is an umbrella project for a group of open source implementations of these distributed social networking concepts. or as Chris puts it: “to build a social network with its skin inside out”.

Our first target is Wordpress, bootstrapping on existing work and building out from there.
So what does that mean?

We’re building Wordpress plugins that implement or build on:

* Microformats like XFN, hCard, XOXO — wp-contactlist, wp-profiles
* OpenID — wp-contactlist, wp-openid-server
* OAuth
* …and others

They also ask you to state a reason for wanting to join the mailing list, which I've copied here:

I am a big fan of microformats and distributed, semantic applications. I work for a social network that's a little bit different because we're mapping the relationships between animals. It gets even more interesting there, because some animals live together, some animals play together, some share parents, and then they all have one or more people who take care of them. It's been difficult for us to take open source software and shoehorn the relationships into it, and what that means as far as a user experience goes.

One funny thing is the idea of your "active pet" or active profile - if a person can create multiple resumes, one for film jobs and one for programming jobs, for example, then maybe this idea of having multiple profiles is important. The people you play poker with on the weekends might not want to be notified when you update the work blog - others will.

So there's another layer. If someone subscribes to your updates, can they subscribe to a subset of those, so as not to get loads of BACN in their activity stream reader?

I think about these things.

If you haven't seen it, check out that weird animal social network.

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