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August 02, 2004


Luke Razzell

This is fascinating stuff... It seems to me that in addition to distinguishing between directionalities, one can further differentiate two broad strata of networked social connectivity:

1) declarative. the explicit permissions that a person gives to others to interact with their online identity (i.e. allow commenting/content sharing/wiki-style content co-creation etc.) and the FOAF-like explicit categorisation of others as "friends"

2) organic. the actual interactions that person is involved in within the network (i.e. linking or being linked to, commenting, messaging, content sharing, content co-creation, rating etc.)

So (1) is focused on the explicit definition of relationship with others (it construes "inter-personal" relationships between a separate "I" and "you"), whereas (2) arises out of the organic web of interactions between people (the "trans-personal" aspect of relationships—a fluid interaction of "I"s together). In other words, there's a difference between describing one's relationship with others and the actual, organic nature of the relationship itself. It seems to me that this has implications for FOAF portability between social networks, in that (2) is only coherent within the context of specific networks (whether that's an SNS or the web as a whole) with their unique interactive structures. So is a portable FOAF in effect perhaps an expression of the declarative aspects of relationships between people that can be abstracted from any specific social network context?

Greg Gershman

Very cool. One thing I might add...blogs themselves (not just the blogroll) are an important outbound uni-directional mechanism of association. I would say that a link in a blog post, at this point, is more significant and carries greater weight, than a link in a blog roll. With the proliferation of RSS, the blogroll is losing its importance in favor of the post reference-link.

I'm checking out WhizSpark as well - looks pretty cool, although it needs a bigger Baltimore contignent!

Matthew Welty

I agree with Greg. The link within a post gets far more attention mostly thanks to the context. I personally feel obligated to open every link in a post just to fulfill my duty to be informed.

WhizSpark is looking sexier every day, Pete!

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Individual Trusted Network - "It is important that this network be constructed bottoms-up, one relationship at a time, so that it is defined explicitly and built on 1 degree trust. Done right, the intent here is to model an individual's current strong ties."

Affinity Groups - "Groups serve to connect people otherwise not connected through the group context. People join these groups because they share a common cause or interest and are willing to collaborate and exchange ideas at a group level."

Shared Spaces - "Shared Spaces are user created groups that allow members to share content and collaborate in real-time. Unlike affinity groups though, where most content must be searched, content in shared spaces are pushed out to all members ensuring they always have the latest information."

Source: WiredJournal, ""Network Patterns"

Peter Caputa has also been busy looking at the vectors of communication. He's also identified three different vectors:

Bi-Directional Connections - "his is ideal for creating many connections quickly, because both people have incentives to create the connections. The incentive is that they can collaborate."

Outbound Uni-Directional - "The connection is defined by one person (the sender) and no approval by the receiver is necessary. This is ideal when people want to show their appreciation and respect."

Inbound Uni-Directional - "This type of connection is defined by the receiver and approval is either inherent or optional from the sender. Permission email marketing or double-opt-in marketing is the prime example of this."

Source: pc4media, "What Does a Connection Mean in a Social Network?"

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The large proportion of these ads are like everything else in social networking sites, but also social. If someone likes an ad that you have sent, they can actually "like" it. This goes to show their news feed and news feeds of their friends, who will then hopefully click "as" the link, and repeat the process. This social aspect of advertising is what makes the process of advertising with Facebook so attractive. People are also much more likely to trust a product or company when it comes recommended by a friend that if it was just a random ad displayed on a Web page.You only need to pay when someone actually clicks on your ad, not only when your ad is displayed. This is a great model, at least to make sure your message is seen.

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