Linking It All — Social Network Portability

flickr.com/people/vaxzine/After reading Brad Fitzpatrick and David Recordon article “Thoughts on the Social Graph“ which is about social networking portability, I had an idea of my own.

As the web guy of the Environmental Health Perspectives “an Open Access journal“ I was thinking about DOI (Digital Object Identifiers) and how it could work with social networking.

DOI utilizes CNRI Handle System — a general purpose distributed information system that provides efficient, extensible, and secure identifier and resolution services for use on networks such as the Internet. It includes an open set of protocols, a namespace, and a reference implementation of the protocols. The protocols enable a distributed computer system to store identifiers of arbitrary resources and resolve those into the information necessary to locate, access, contact, authenticate, or otherwise make use of the resources. This information can be changed as needed to reflect the current state of the identified resource without changing its identifier, thus allowing the name of the item to persist over changes of location and other related state information.

Why use the Handle System? Think about keeping track of a person. People are listed in a telephone directory by name. If you look up a person’s name, you will find his address. If he moves across town, his address will change but not his name, so you will get his new address when you look up his name. If he didn’t have a name, was known only by his address, and he moved, you’d probably lose track of him. If you tried his old address, he wouldn’t be found. He’d have to tell everyone his new address, and hope they kept it. If he had a lot of friends, that might work, but it would take a lot of effort.

Similarly, if your digital content is only known by its location, and that location changes, it will be hard for users to find it. If you give each object a unique name (an identifier), and associate that name with the object’s location using the Handle System, you’d only have to update a single record with the new location, rather than notify everyone who might want to find the object, even if you could arrange to do so.

Wouldn’t that work great for Social Networking Portability — update a single record instead of multiple logins at mutiple website.

So here is my idea in a nutshell:

  • Social Network ID website (Non-Profit, Open Source)
  • Create Master Login (Identifier) — this would be your only username for all of your social network sites
  • Input all your Social Network account information plus whatever other tags you find important (location, website, phone number)
  • Easily add/remove your friends
  • The Social Network ID website verifies all your information
  • One spot to update your information
  • And of course, ditto what Brad wrote, “More important is that any one of these sites shouldn’t own it; nobody/everybody should. It should just exist.

So there you go, it’s basic bullet points but it’s a start. There are a lot of other ideas on Social Network Portability but not utilizing the Handle System. Do some research, think about it and give me some comments.

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