Graphing Social: Opening Up the Social Graph

Tantek Celik (moderator), David Recordon SixApart, Chamath Palihapitiya Facebook, Joseph Smarr Plaxo, Ted Grubb Satisfaction Unlimited

Joseph: plaxo all about connecting all the places where you data is. a webwide solution. demos pulse. pretty nifty. working on a open source tool

david: fairly famous for the opening social graph paper for example, vox, how do you bootstrap a social network? you already have one, they might not want to bring everyone over, but you don’t want to start from scratch either. How can you share value but not have ot give up username/password everywhere they go.

ted: we allow uses to import their profile into satisfaction, if the company supports microformats… such as flickr.

Chamath: we have embraced open standards, it’s the cornerstone of our services, it’s allowed us to be trusted.  but before we step into all that, i want us to all understand where we’ve coming form. We believe there is one social graph int he word, and all these nodes that connect people, and we’ve been able to map only a small amount of it, and other services are mapping it too, and we believe we have to make our version of it available of it to as many people in ways as possible. we acknowledge we need as many people as possible along the way to make it better.
there was atime you woudl never putyoru first and last name on a webpage. 30% of our uses also put their cell phone number. it’s becuase it’s trusted and private.

David: it’s the same at six apart, assign user to make the decisions about sharing information, and even though it was common practice to show hashed email address and the hashes were used ot link accounts, and we didn’t want to assume that folks who didn’t want to share emails in any way. LiveJournals audience didn’t mind sharing, but Vox’s did, so privacy is not homeogenous.

Joseph: people are doing powerful tings with data, and it’s important to be able to get your data in and out, it’s better when users are in control of their own information. we’ve been talking about the open social web, and what does that mean? We’ve put up a bill of rights at opensocialweb.org

Ted: it’s important to keep wit simple for the user while givin gthem control fo how their data is displayed

David: it’s hard ot know what the problem is. We’re int eh silicon vallye and if it wasnt’ on techcrunch it doens’t matter. don’t get me wrong, it’s relaly important to give people offerings, like doppler for geeky travelers, but then folks had ot redo their entire social network on doppler… people dont’ know what social graph means, nodes and edges, I know I have friends, colleges, relationships… to be able to map offline and online. I’d like a tool for my addressbook so I could pass on phone numbers between trusted friends, the way I’d do in life.

Tantek: how many have you checked your facebook more than once today
Audience: since the session started?
<laughter>
tantek: but is this a geeky perspective.

David: but with facebook, the ability to tag a photo was great, since you don’t say you are tagging you just say who is in this photo.

Chamath: the data expires 24 hours later, why does it? We dont’ feel we own that, and the pluses and minuses means we have to iterate from somewhere. he’s very a sleek speaker

david: so the 24 hours, it’s come up with ohter folks, you can’t store things you get form the api for more than 24 hours. but as a user, you dont’ get teh choice of storing it if it has value.

Chamath: but by refetching you ge hte most up to date, so it’s good for the user

Q: anyone thinking about integrating openID and FOAF?
David: we support all that and more
Plaxo: same
Chamath: working on it
Ted: we haven’t talked about it much
Plaxo: do you put your money where your mouth is in allowing data in and out?

Q: hippies and open vs platform wars and data lock in?
David: W’re see this next year, will there be more platforms? a long tail of platforms?
Chamath: we realize that companies are generating millions in just a few months already…
Tantek: what does it mean to be open?
Joseph: you are open when you give yoru users control of their data and its use
tred: allowing use sot own their data:
David: focuses areound user focus and control. if you want to take your data out, you can?
Chamath: you empower your users how they interact with other people.

Q: Facebook dont’ allow access to connection, to protect users form spamming, but that conflicts with open model of data
Chamath: we’re three months into something we’ll be working on for years. We’ve got to give users and ap develops more and more control, and be responsible for accounting for those edge cases that create a poor experiences.
David: It’s very important. You have to make sure users understand how the data they provide will be used.

Tantek: he asked when openid will be used, but it’s good to recall what chamath said about how it’s only 3months day, so how many  folks want openid.
Dave: how many uncles, aunts no SV want it?
Plaxo: but maybe they want not the technology but what it makes possible.
 
Chamath: we need to recognize the timescale in what it takes to map this graph.

Q: it’s clear others will open their networks to API, such as beebo and LinkedIn. that will be similar to when AOl lost control. What happens when we build on multiple platforms rather than build on facebook?
Chamath: that ability exists today. ti’s very powerful, build once run on many. The reality is we are all useing open publishing tools that allow clearspring and companies like that to exist.
Plaxo: it’s still hard ot stitch the social networks together, but it’s not a fanciful prospect.
David: there was a rumor about orkut.

today I saw that facebook is the new google. in philosophy, at the very least.

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  1. 1
    Sean

    Although Recordon and Fitzpatrick are still focusing on only social connections for now, there has also been a lot of talk about freeing the data associated with Social accounts.

    For instance, if you have pictures of your daughter’s first steps on Flickr (these days most people don’t get to make backups before their harddrives toast out)… what happens if Flickr decides to stop benevolently hosting your pictures for free and starts to charge for it? Worse yet, what if they go out of business and those pictures are lost?

    While both of these scenarios are unlikely for Flickr, the point is that the user really doesn’t have “control” of their data even though they have ethical ownership of it.

    I and a few others have been working to free the data also. One such project is the open source SiloSync project (it is web-based: CloudTripper is an similar project but is an offline implementation).

    Check it out if you’re curious:
    http://silosync.com/wiki

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