Thursday, 13 November 2008
With OpenSocial 0.8 rolling out, the REST APIs mean that developers can integrate with social sites using server-side code directly, potentially delegating user registration, profiles and friend relationships to an already-trusted social site, and feeding activity updates back into them.
To do this, we are building an Open Stack, based on OpenID, XRDS-Simple, OAuth, PortableContacts and OpenSocial. By composing open standards in this way, we can make each one more valuable. The advantages of OpenID over email login in itself are not that obvious to users, but if the OpenID can be used to bring in your profile and contacts data - with your permission via OAuth - suddenly the added value is clear to users and developers alike. This connection was one of the exciting discussions at the Internet Identity Workshop this week - here's a video of myself, Steve Gillmor, David Recordon and Cliff Gerrish talking about it.
Saturday, 8 November 2008
However, the then uses his unmemorable Facebook URL http://www.facebook.com/p/Dare_Obasanjo/500050028 as an example, rather than any of the memorable ones he actually uses and people refer to, such as http://www.25hoursaday.com/weblog/ or http://carnage4life.spaces.live.com/ or http://twitter.com/Carnage4Life
DeWitt Clinton did an excellent job of clearing up some of Dare's other innaccuracies, but he then rhetorically exaggerated thus:
URLs make fantastic identifiers — for the 0.1% of the web population that understands that they “are” a URL. Fortunately, the other 99.9% of the world (our parents, for example) already understand that they have an email address.
This is missing the huge population of the online world (our children, for example) who consider email a messy noisy way to talk to old people, or to sign up to services when forced to, but are happy using their MySpace or Bebo or Hi5 or LiveJournal or Blogger or Twitter URLs to refer to themselves.
As I said in URLs are People Too:
The underlying thing that is wrong with an email address is that it's affordance is backwards - it enables people who have it to send things to you, but there's no reliable way to know that a message is from you. Conversely, URLs have the opposite default affordance- people can go look at them and see what you have said about yourself, and computers can go and visit them and discover other ways to interact with what you have published, or ask you permission for more.
Where I see OpenID providing a key advantage is in it's coupling with URL-based endpoints that provide more information and save the user time. The OpenID to PortableContacts connection as demonstrated by janrain can add your friends (with permission) from an OpenID login directly via OAuth.
This makes the OpenID login instantly more useful than an email one, and by connecting to an OpenSocial endpoint too, you can couple activities you take on the wider web with the site you trust to be a custodian of your profile and friends data, so your friends can discover what you are doing elsewhere, and come and join you.
I'm looking forward to talking through these issues at Internet Identity World next week in Mountain View.
Friday, 7 November 2008
One thing I learned at Technorati is that one sure-fire way to get linked to by bloggers is to write an article about blogging. Sure enough, The Economist and Nick Carr have, with their 'death of the blogosphere' articles, garnered a fair bit of linkage.
Their curious obsession with the Technorati Top 100 is missing what is really happening. As JP points out, the old blogging crew are still around, they're just blogging less that those paid to do so a dozen times a day. Not because they are less interested or engaged, but because there are now many new ways to do what we used blogs for back then.
With Technorati, and trackback and pingback, we built tools to follow cross-blog conversations, and learned that we are each others’ media. As I wrote in 2004:
The great thing about weblogs is when you discover someone. Someone who makes sense to you, or someone who surprises you with a viewpoint you hadn't thought of. Once you have found them you can subscribe to their feeds and see how they can keep inspiring or surprising you.
You can even start a blog, link to them, and join the conversation
A year later I reiterated:
By tracking people linking to me or mentioning my name, Technorati helps me in this distributed asynchronous conversation (thats how I found Mike and Dave's comments, after all). However, as I've said before, "I can read your thoughts, as long as you write them down first". In order to be in the conversation, you need to be writing and linking. Perforce, this means that those who write and link more, and are written about and linked to more, are those who most see the utility of it.
What has happened since is that the practices of blogging have become reified into mainstream usage. Through social networks and Twitter and Reader shared items and Flickr and HuffDuffer and all the other nicely-focused gesture spreading tools we have, the practice of blogging, of mediating the world for each other, has become part of the fabric of the net.
This may be the first blogpost I've written since August, but the many digital publics I'm part of have been flowing media and friendly gestures to and from me all the time.