[Tech] RSS+ FOAF (2)

Another article about how RSS and FOAF are intricated. I like this statement:

Efimova writes, "What weblogs create is two way awareness. If I read someone's articles online or check personal pages or "know" a person by reading comment in online discussion, in most cases this is one-way "getting to know": this person is not aware that I'm learning about him or her. Weblogs change it: if another blogger links to your weblog as least ones, he is likely to get on your radar." The relations formed between bloggers is similar to that formed between people in a social network. "This awareness creates something that I don't have a good name for. It's close to familiar stranger, but there is some kind of interaction (or, may be linking is similar to looking at person a physical environment, you don't expect a feedback, but another person is likely to notice that you have looked). I would say that this connection is one degree stronger than 'familiar stranger' connection. And then this connection may turn into something stronger - 'weak-tied' conversations, with one more degree stronger. Then it may result in joint actions and "strong ties" at the end."

The point of the author is that "The idea of FOAF is that it is like RSS for personal identities." : Who I Like is What I Read but...

Such a solution is not comlete, however. For one this, it would need to be incorporated into other tools; the reliance on a specific website to author a FOAF file creates unnecessary complexity. Additionally, this merely pushes back the problem of creation one step: it is still necessary to author an OPML file.

What is to be done:

- Get people to create personal metadata files. FOAF might do the trick, if extended. The personal file contains the usual profile details found on a site like this, plus options to say 'likes', 'hates', 'cool' other people.

Needed: a simple FOAF management tool, the Blogger of FOAF, if you will, that people can use to create these files. A method for securing and verifying identity, to prevent fake FOAF files. A means of aggregating FOAF (already exists) for use elsewhere.

- Reference to FOAF in other documents. FOAF by itself (like Orkut by itself, or any other sterile SN environment) serves no purpose. Place FOAF links into content metadata (such as RSS) and now the content metadata system and the SN metadata system can interact. Aggregators harvesting both FOAF and RSS have enormous expressive power.

- Extend FOAF, or RSS, or create a new type of format, for individuals with FOAF identities to attach values (like, dislike, loved) content items with RSS identities. Add to the mix. Aggregate.

I also wrote that SSNs work when...

- comments in boards point to profiles created by (and owned by) the people they describe, not isolated centralized islands like Orkut, Friendster, and the 100 or more similar separate sites.

- references to such FOAF (or similar) files - or something similar to FOAF files - are attached to content or content metadata (such as RSS), identifying the author.

- we can go to an aggregator and say, "Find all the articles by people that Clay Shirkey likes." or "Find all the articles about RSS by people who don't like Dave Winer." or "Find all the articles on Google by people who wrote articles that Jon Udell likes."

- when influence is determined not by the number of friends you can sign up, but by the usefulness of results produced by using your profile and preferences in a search.

- when all of this is used to do something, and not merely facilitate chatter.