ralphm's blog

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Federating social networks workshop

I am a month in my new job at Mediamatic Lab. As part of one of our projects, we are working on having the different instances of anyMeta (a CMS used to build websites like those for PICNIC and Reboot. We want to use open protocols for this. To prevent us from working on our own little island, and noticing the huge buzz on opening up social networking services, I've been pretty busy with organizing a workshop (upcoming) on federating social networks. Next Saturday (8 December) we will get a bunch of smart people together to talk about what it takes to have social networking services, as well as more generic CMSs, work together, so that people are not caught between the numerous walls that are currently in place around each respective garden. My colleague wok wrote a related piece on this: Solving Social Networking Fatigue.

Although it was pretty short notice, there will be a fair number of people from the Dutch social networking crowd, like Robert Gaal of Wakoopa, who chaired the Portable Social Networks session at PICNIC '07. Also, we got two great people over from San Francisco. One of them is David Recordon of SixApart. I met David at Web 2.0 Expo Berlin, where he did a presentation on opening up social networking services. He gave a good overview on the issues and stated that most of the tools are there, and we should just put them together.

The other one is Blaine Cook of Twitter, who I met at XTech 2007 in Paris. In his talk together with Kellan Elliott-McCrea, he went into why XMPP is a great technology to complement HTTP in building online services. Also, we spoke about hooking up social networking sites like Twitter and Jaiku using XMPP. During the summer we discussed the bits and pieces in XMPP (like the publish-subscribe extension) that'd be needed for that. This resulted in my presentation at Web 2.0 Expo Berlin, and the workshop we are doing now.

The day will start off with a couple of presentations and introductions, followed by sessions of discussion (and a lunch). From 17:00h, there'll be a borrel (drink) with a few short higher level presentations for a broader group of people, with less focus on the technical aspects. Afterwards, we'll probably head into the city for some food and stuff.

Unfortunately, because of the short notice and other obligations, a lot of people that really want to come said they can't make it. Maybe we should try and do a follow-up event early next year. For them and anyone interested in all this, we will try to get some live coverage on the #fsn Jaiku channel. All in all, I am pretty excited about doing this event and hope to see you there!