What DiSo Means to Me

Many feed readers (mine included) just caught DiSo. That’s not as unhealthy as it might sound. The term refers to distributed social networking. Maybe it might have been called DiSoNe, but that would be a silly name.

DiSo is a free/open source software project. The software will implement web standards such as OpenID and OAuth. 2007 was a big year in terms of the definition of these standards. It seems to me that one of the more immediate goals of DiSo is to make 2008 as big a year in terms of implementation.

The DiSo model “can be described as having three sides… Information, Identity, and Interaction.” I think that the first and last of these sides correspond to Content and Connection. I admit that’s rather like saying that I made myself a hammer a while ago, and now everything looks like a nail. Perhaps I need a term for Identify beginning with C: character? How good a term is that? It depends on how closely web identities resemble fictional characters.

Does all this stuff about standards and models sound rather abstract? I’d say yes, and that if the abstraction is a problem, then the DiSo project is an attempt at a solution. It’ll produce code that people can use. To get gradually more specific:

Well, that’s what I’ve found out or deduced about DiSo so far. I hope that the above is helpful to others. I had to do some digging and head-scratching before arriving at this understanding. I found Anne’s post at GigaOm to be too WordPress-centric (yes, I believe that it’s possible to be too WordPress-centric).

I tend to sync better with Chris Messina’s ideas than with his writing. For example, I don’t find the term The inside-out social network very helpful. And, after reading the last paragraph of his post with that name, I feel rather tired, vaguely inspired, but none the wiser.

Of course, the rather tired thing may be because it’s 3am here. If, due to that or any other cause, there are mistakes in the above, I hope that someone more knowledgeable and/or awake will correct them.

4 thoughts on “What DiSo Means to Me”

  1. 🙂 I too found Anne’s post too WP-centric. In fact i initially thought DiSo was going to be a platform built over WP. I completely missed this part – It’ll initially produce code that works with WordPress.

    Your post makes it much clearer. Thanks.

  2. Hi Andrew — and thanks for the write up. I’ll admit that sometimes I get a little carried away with my own rhetoric; I seem to do better when I’m commenting on other people’s words than when given free reign with my own. C’est la vie.

    Anyway, WordPress simply lays the groundwork, primarily because I had an existing plugin to build on, and because it supports XFN already, so it gave us a uniform and widely supported means to describe people’s relationships. Beyond that, I just want to explore the realm of what it would mean to run your own node of a distributed social network!

    As you pointed out, this year has been spent largely working on the protocols to enable this kind of thing to be built and then to be widely adopted; next year should be about taking these technologies for granted (in a good way) and see what’s possible… a little like when Firefox came around and enabled web designers to *finally* use web standards! 🙂

  3. Chris,
    Thanks for stopping by, and for taking well my comments on your prose. All the best with DiSo. I hope that your starting with WordPress will give the WordPress folks a nudge about OpenID and, in particular, toward being an OpenID consumer.

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