Open Social Networking Model

Open Standards for Social Networking

see also Federated Social Network, Distributed Social Network

Pattern Language


  • allow people to interact despite having different preferences, Trade-Off-s


  • people have a varying mix of media to generate/share: text (short, long), photos, online images, Video, Audio
    • some people want to output styled/linky text, others prefer the simplicity of PlainText plus 1 link
    • some people will output content that would violate some service providers' Terms Of Service: profanity, political/religious, porn
  • people want to respond to content in a variety of ways: save/boommark, comment, Like Button, categorize (MetaTag), associate non-text content
    • this (sometimes) needs to be a near-RealTime flow
  • some people want their output associated with their real name, others with a stable pseudonym, others totally anonymous
  • some people want some/all of their output (including their Social Graph) seen only by their "friends"; some want to share certain bits of output with different subsets of friends; some want to charge for access to their content (PayWall)
    • sometimes a group/subset is managed by a 3rd party (classmates, work-team-mates)
  • some people are willing to have everyone see their output, but only want to see responses from their "friends", or maybe any non-anonymous person
  • some people will use a mix of servers/service providers: new media types, new UI, different Privacy rules, etc.
  • some people will want to have a Universal Outbox where all their output streams/services are brought together into 1 UX
  • some people don't trust service providers to keep their content private, whether from advertisers or BigGov or employers
  • service providers sometimes shut down or change business model
  • some people don't want to pay money or do (tech) work to make this happen
  • some people don't like ads


  • technologies
  • people/personas - will associate with their favorite service, imagining alternate-universe versions of them that play well with other services
  • actions
    • Iggy makes a post, he's fine with it being public. It is available at a URL on his server, included in a listing-page on his server, and in an RSS/H Feed feed.
      • He may also have the title/link post to Twitter (POSSE).
      • If it has no Title, it's a note instead of an article. The body get posted to Twitter instead of the title.
    • A friend reads it, thinks it's funny, emails the URL to Isabel. She reads it, reads a couple other posts on Iggy's server, decides he's worth keeping track of. Pastes URL of any of his posts into form on her RssAggregator, it finds the link tag pointing to his RSS feed, adds it to her input stream.
    • Isabel wants to like (Like Button) Iggy's post. She goes to a form on her server, enters the post URL. It grabs the post info from his server, creates an entry on her server, and sends a WebMention-like to Iggy's server. His server updates the like-count for the original post, and adds her to the list of likers for the post.
    • She writes Comment (reply) to 1 of Iggy's posts. She does this on her server: she uses either a Comment form which just takes Iggy's post URL as 1 field, and her comment as the other; or, she uses a Note form in which she includes an inline link to Iggy's post. Either way, when she publishes it, her server saves the entry locally, plus sends WebMention to Iggy's server. His server saves entry with her comment URL, associated with his original post. Either way, comment can be read on both servers.

Hrm, rather than Wanking I think I'll go back to aiming toward migrating my WikiLog to TankWiki....

Sept'2011 - will one ever succeed?

Basic concept:

  • I use multiple services/tools to create/publish media objects, whether that's Social Media or something "more serious". Some of that I'm happy to have viewed by anyone (and I'd like to relate it to my other "feeds"). Some of it I want available to various subgroups of people (friends, family, friends not in my family, etc.).

  • I also want a Universal Inbox where I can get some kind of notification of new objects (and new feeds) published by people in my Social Network, etc. (Is that my RssAggregator?)

  • some variety of Like Button

This leads to:

  • open Digital Identity so it's easy to join new services that your friends post on, with Single Sign-On for return visits

    • also want to bring these services together into your Identity Hub

    • OpenID looks like the path here

    • I think there's an "advanced" version of it that allows an OpenID server to provide some info beyond "yes this person know's Bob's password" - e.g. his email address

    • Almost every service has to become an OpenID server, giving anyone who wants to join the option of using an existing OpenID from somewhere else, or creating one there. (Or maybe this becomes more like a referral service, where I have a preferred OpenID partner I point people to who want to quickly create one, knowing they have a super-streamlined process.)

  • Open Digital Group Identity for Group Forming (Social Graph). Which leads to some messy User Stories...

    • J Yte has an API with some support for Group handling.

Hmm, need to structure this as some User Stories...

A-List-er generating content/activity

  • Add post/object

A-List-er viewing/receiving content/activity

  • discover new person-of-interest

Newbie coming online

  • sign up for WebMail account at a Portal

  • start following channels of newsfeeds in that Portal

  • discover RSS feeds in the RssAggregator feature of that Portal

  • start following some of the promoted RSS feeds

  • discover another blog you want to follow. ugh what now?

  • a friend tells you they're on FaceBook. what do you do?

Edited:    |       |    Search Twitter for discussion