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Friend buckets through XFN 2007/09/13

Social network portability will be great but managing the particulars will be a nightmare with the tools currently available.  Some think XFN will tame the madness, but they're crazy.  It isn't flexible enough.  XFN doesn't cover the entire spectrum of relations that people can have -- having hardcoded values pretty much destroys any hope there.

We need something like rel="tag:drunkenfratparty" that differentiates college friends from code-monkey friends (rel="tag:nerdery").  Your bestest friends would be rel="tag:*".  But rel="friend met" is just too vague.

Most obviously, this is a way to get at information like Facebook's Friend Details.  More importantly, this is how we prevent our excessive friend list on one network from polluting something more intimate.  The Facebook Friend Details options, being controlled by the company rather than the users, will ultimately act like hardcoded values that everyone knows and recognizes (rel="tag:we_hooked_up" anyone?).  But if I could tag friends "danville" or "cyclist" or "musician" then I could maybe get someone useful.

The goal here of course is to enter information once and have it propagate as more social sites crop up.  When I'm joining the hot new social network for drummers I can include my friends elsewhere tagged "musician" and end up with exactly who I want.

Comments (1)

  1. Question... So, a semi-competing way of representing relationships is FOAF It is worse than than xfn because all it has is foaf:knows to represent a relationship and then you have info about the person in a foaf:Person. Now the thing that may make foaf better is that it is an xml representation (well, xhtml is xml too, but lets ignore that).  So, can you add a "rel" namespace and in that foaf:People you have a "rel:tag" with a value of drummer (or multiple "rel:tag"s)? (If you need an example of a fairly extensive foaf file, livejournal has a pretty big FOAF of me.

    David Hall — 2007/09/20 6:45 pm

Richard Crowley?  Kentuckian engineer who cooks and eats in between bicycling and beering.

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