Six Apart seems to be Social Graph Central, despite the departure of Brad Fitzpatrick. David Recordon, who worked with Brad on the oft-cited Thoughts on the Social Graph, has joined Six Apart, and announced that We Are Opening the Social Graph.
David’s post has been described as a heavy read and as maddeningly geeky. I don’t think it’s that bad, especially if you focus on the definition and declaration of intent with which David leads.
- Your social graph comprises “lists of friends and connections on the social websites that you use.”
- “You should own your social graph.”
- “Open technologies are the best way” to address the issues around social graphs.
David gets more technical when he moves on to technologies: OpenID, hCard, XFN, and FOAF. If your eyes have started to glaze over, you might want to leave us now…
For the remaining and select few: as one who likes to compare Six Apart with Automattic/WordPress, I thought I’d take a quick look at the extent to which these technologies are available in WordPress. The short answer is that they’re all at least somewhat available, but that the availability is lower for WordPress.com than for WordPress classic.
- OpenID. I posted back in March about WordPress.com being an OpenID provider, but not (yet?) an OpenID consumer.
- hCard. There’s an hCard plugin, which means that you can use hCard on WordPress classic. hCards are not supported yet at.com.
- XFN. This is where WordPress gets a big checkmark. The checkmark applies to .com and to the documentation. WordPress helps me to define my relationship with those I blogroll. Don’t have a blogroll? Neither do I. But I can still use use XFN to indicate friendship when linking to, for example, Jonathan Yedidia’s blog, Nerd Wisdom. Having linked, I’ll add that the blog more than lives up to each word of its title.
- FOAF. As for hCard, there’s a plugin; or rather, there are multiple plugins.
This is not to say that Automattic is as interested as Six Apart in social graph stuff; but I think it’s pretty interested. Neither is it to say that Automattic will use the same approaches and technologies as Six Apart; but WordPress already includes some of the technologies, and there are hints of further use.
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