[OpenID] OpenId Chance

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Fri Jan 26 17:44:15 UTC 2007

This is the general concept and thrust for marrying OpenID with microformats.

I intend to write about this soon, but essentially the idea is to host
an hcard on the end of your OpenID, and contained within that hcard
would be your XFN relationships.

Obviously if you have a blog at the end of your OpenID and use
WordPress, you're well on your way to having a publicly-portable
social network.

There are two elements of this to consider, however:

First, is that not everyone will appreciate having their details
shared about them by others (see FOAF) on a public portal. This could
be remedied by, at the least, concealing the XFN relationships behind
OpenID authentication.

Second, just as folks may not appreciate their contact information
being shared on the open web for them, still others may not want to be
added to Social Network X automatically. To some degree, Plaxo's
Universal Address Book Widget (http://www.plaxo.com/api/widget) puts
you, the inviter, in the position of responsibility for spamming your
friends. The same should be true for importing and exporting social
networks in two ways:

1. no one should be automatically added to a social network unless
they requested it. Therefore, whenever contacts are imported into a
system as a step in rebuilding or *subscribing* to one's social
network, the next step will be to *invite* those contacts who are not
already in the system to join.
2. Now, if certain contacts are discovered or cross-referenced in the
system and are discovered to already exist, the network's internal
messaging system may be used to invite those contacts to connect, or
to be added to a non-reciprocal relationship (as in accelerating the
discovery of the "Add as a friend" process).

Now, what I think is actually most interesting about this proposal is
that, should OpenID take off, the need to import/export your social
network at each new site will actually diminish, not increase. For
example, you don't download the Yellow Pages into every new cell phone
you buy, do you? Instead, you have a simple addressing mechanism (aka
the phone number) to connect with people. And, while you currently
have to sync your address book with your phone to create a focused
subset of the Yellow Pages, I imagine that true user-centric identity
would make this syncing process somewhat obsolete for when you log in
to a service and *share* your connections, aren't you then putting the
onus on the service to maintain its awareness of who you're connected
with? And, on top of that, all you need are URLs for people in order
to contact them with the simple messaging exchange -- meaning that
internal network messaging systems will become somewhat redundant.

If, instead of going to Flickr, MySpace, Facebook and all the rest
that have their own internal messaging systems, (like email used to
be) and instead log directly into my iDP Inbox (which, acting as my
agent, has collected all my messages) and am able to get all my
messages in one place, I can then respond by sending messages to
people's OpenIDs, instead of through those service's internal

I would strongly recommend considering this proposal, which is based
on and built with technology and standards that are available *today*
(and in fact are already being deployed). And is also respectful of
people's attention, and of their increasingly limited desire to join



On 1/26/07, Roland Sassen (using mozilla) <sassen at thinsia.com> wrote:
> As there seem to be many people on this list with real names,
> the time has come to admit that hiding some basic information about your
> person is not necessary.  This opens the possibility to openly store
> this basic identity information
> on your personal internet portal, or just web-site, which can be the
> starting point of your
> internet experience. Store your OpenId server here, your list of trusted
> sites and persons,
> your cross-site reputation, and more. This is a user-centric solution,
> which is a more useful attribute than
> "decentralized". As CardSpace uses the end-device as a repository, which
> cannot be secured,
> OpenId can make a difference here. I blogged about this OpenId Chance
> here <http://www.thinsia.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry070118-135301>
> Roland Sassen <http://www.heartbeat-id.com/15>
> THINSIA <http://www.thinsia.com>
> _______________________________________________
> general mailing list
> general at openid.net
> http://openid.net/mailman/listinfo/general

Chris Messina
Citizen Provocateur &
  Open Source Ambassador-at-Large
Work: http://citizenagency.com
Blog: http://factoryjoe.com/blog
Cell: 412 225-1051
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