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Portable Social Networks, The Building Blocks Of A Social Web : Comments

By Ben Ward

July 1, 2008



July 2, 2008 3:02 AM

Funny, this is very much related to a project I’m doing right now. It’s supposed to gather data from different sources together on your homepage, and since it’s open source software, it isn’t as closed as, say, FriendFeed. It’s a very young project so currently mostly makes use of open API’s, but support for retrieving Microformats (Microformats are already used where possible) is a high priority :)


July 2, 2008 3:03 AM

Oh, by the way, this project can be found at for those interested :)

John Faulds

July 2, 2008 6:07 AM

Cool article. I’ve been aware of microformats and XFN and have been using them to a limited extent for a little while, but it’s good to hear of some of the potential broader applications.

Ideas At Random

July 2, 2008 8:34 AM

The link in the article for “AUMP in Python” is broken.

A “c” should be added to make “googleode” into “googlecode”

Tiff Fehr

July 2, 2008 9:15 AM

Thanks for the catch, @Ideas At Random. Fixed! Always appreciative of helpful readers.


July 2, 2008 2:56 PM

Hmm, to people possibly interested in my project: sorry, the website’s down at the moment as I’m having some problems. Working hard to get it up again :)

David Sim

July 3, 2008 5:09 AM

This is a great article – thank you for providing so much detail. We’re beginning to see a lot of niche social networks rising, providing specific tools around – for example – sharing recipes or learning a language. A portable social network is essential if we’re not to be burdened by a social web dominated by form filling. Glad you used the FriendFeed example. I tried adding my friends to it so I could use it as a unified resource for my network but gave up because it was so laborious.

Facebook seems worried about this trend; Google, and I’m guessing Yahoo, on the other hand, seem to have realised that letting people “out of the box” isn’t a problem – you retain a relationship with them anyway.


July 3, 2008 6:54 AM

Wow, amazing article and very interesting indeed. This was so well thought out and easy to understand.

André Luís

July 3, 2008 6:41 PM

Very impressive article. Sums everything up so well!

A quick question, though… I could use that uid property of hcard to, for example, on a multiple authored blog point to each author’s page? which, in turn, would include a fair more detailed hCard? This is completely accurate, right?

Thanks in advance.

André Luís

July 3, 2008 6:43 PM

Oh! One thing I left out-sorry for the double comment…

I don’t think it makes sense to use rel=“me“s on the blog page (little detail hcards), since neither is the sole owner of that url… this could mislead parsers into thinking all authors are the same person, right?

Ben Ward

July 4, 2008 3:07 AM

Thank you, everyone for the positive feedback.

André Luís: Both your points are correct. You can use UID without using rel=me to link to the authoritative hCard for a person, regardless of how many people ‘own’ the page.

Rel=me should be used to link between pages that only one person owns. So whilst the blog page, with multiple authors, would not have rel=me links, the individual author pages (showing their profile, or showing just their posts) can use rel=me to link to that author’s other sites. In much the same way as my pages within Flickr (/photos/benward, /people/benward) are valid for use with rel=me, but a group page containing my photographs would not be.



Jenny Orr

July 4, 2008 3:21 AM

I think it’d be great if all sites could adopt this, making it easier to set up and manage different profiles without having the laborious task of having to fill out the same details over and over on various registration forms. is my blog I’ve started as I research into social networks and discuss issues facing marketers and users

Josh Hopkins

July 7, 2008 6:20 AM

very good article. i have been using microformats for some time now. it won’t be long before all web2.0 social sites begin utilizing these existing formats and implement them into their sites to make the web a more robust place for everyone to enjoy quicker and easier.

Tiff Fehr

August 3, 2008 11:55 AM

Closing comments due to spam. Apologies to our legit readers. Please feel free to direct any comments to the author.

Sorry, comments are closed.

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