Monday, August 27, 2007

Brad's Thoughts on the Social Graph

Brad's Thoughts on the Social Graph

short answer: mu

long answer: there isnt much in his blog post that I agree with actually.

First, there isnt any such thing as THE social graph, and there never ever will be. There's all kinds of social graphs, all depending on so many subjective factors, like how one is connected, as opposed to just the 'yes/no' status of connection. There's also the factor of 'which aspect of me is connected to which aspect of you' which stems from the fact that we all have different personas, both in life, and on the Internet.

You also have to have usernames, passwords (or hopefully you use OpenID instead), a way to invite friends, add/remove friends, and the list goes on.

Um, no you dont. You already have them, somewhere, be they in an address book or buddy list. You dont need to give dopplr the information, you just need the code from dopplr, and Ill pass it along to those people in my encountered list that I want to play this game with.

People are getting sick of registering and re-declaring their friends on every site.

Yes, that's registrationitis, and it's inevitable, because using a remote server website to manage your relationships is bass-ackwards. They dont need your information, you just need their app code on your computer. So far, Facebook has only given me about 10 different options to describe how I met someone. Most of them are silly, and why cant I create my own labels/tags to describe my relationship? Why do I have to publicly declare how I met someone? Do you honestly think the WWW is going to create a universal definition of Homey?

Establish a non-profit and open source software (with copyrights held by the non-profit) which collects, merges, and redistributes the graphs from all other social network sites into one global aggregated graph.

Um, fuck you very much, but no.
Copyrights of *what* held by the non profit? The graph itself? It's my fucking network thanks, it's *MY* copyright. This supposedly benevolent supergraph would immediately become a target of every nutcase and dictator to be on the planet. Its my information, I'll keep it on my computer, fuck you very much. I would never ever trust a non profit with this information - they have no incentive to respond to my needs.

A user should then be able to log into a social application (e.g. for the first time, ideally but not necessarily with OpenID, and be presented with a dialog like, "Hey, we see from public information elsewhere that you already have 28 friends already using dopplr, shown below with rationale about why we're recommending them (what usernames they are on other sites). Which do you want to be friends with here? Or click 'select-all'." just because you two already declared your relationship publicly somewhere else

Why don't you just give me the code to plug into my people browser and Ill match up the people myself, so I dont have to publicly declare my relationship to anyone? it's none of your business.

The goal is not to replace Facebook

I'm sorry, my goal IS to replace facebook, and myspace, and friendster and AOL and and every other social web 2.0 its-really-a-feature-not-a-website business. THEY ARE WORTHLESS.

The goal is not to build a social networking site or anything that's fun for the end-user. Rather, the goal is to build the guts that allow a thousand new social applications to bloom, like Dopplr, etc.

Then create a standard people browser, like Mu, that allows you to plug in any code and keep it on your own computer and only share it with those you choose.

The goal is not to replace Plaxo

Then youve already lost me because Plaxo is 15 years too late. If a people browser had been invented in '95 alongside a web browser, it would have never been created, and as soon as we can create an intelligent address book/encounter list/mu browser, it will fold too.

Requiring browser add-ons or other end-user downloads is a nonstarter. This all must run primarily on the web. Some functionality for some (uncooperative) sites will require a browser plugin, but most won't.

Evidently, he hasnt read dvoraks article about webservices. Why must all of this exist on a web server? Youre right, this shouldnt be a browser addon, because it should be a browser itself. If the website isnt going to be cooperative, then it wont work in my people browser, and they will lose, not me.

For instance, collecting their friends on a site like MySpace (if they configure it to) is okay, but scraping their friends-of-friends isn't cool because that isn't their data. It's either those friends' data or MySpace's... definitely not the user who downloaded the add-on.

The solution is to not make the friend list public in the first place!! Since when is ones buddy list a default public thing anyway?

I'm not sure if the author is naive, stupid or aiming to become master of the world, but his proposal SCARES me. It should scare you too, and everything in the world should be done to fight this.

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