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="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.