When Friendster came out it was clearly only the tip of an iceberg of social software. It was also clear that Friendster could be no more because it wasn’t scalable. And people have learned not to become dependent on monopolies. I looked for an open-standards distributed alternative and found FOAF. It’s a framework, not an application. The only people to find in the network where zealots like myself. I dreamed of making something as easy to use as Friendster but using FOAF and other open technologies.
After a while of filling my head with FOAF and thinking about what to do with it, I realized that I wasn’t in the position to make something big. I could make some neat application of the network, but I couldn’t make the growth. Then TypePad showed up and it used FOAF to code the connections between members. Even the Dean campaign website used FOAF.
While I was on the FOAF development mailing lists, I learned of a project called PLINK (People Link) that did a lot of what I was planning on. I figured I’d wait and see how that went. Well, it’s here now and it’s pretty promising. You can browse a person and the FOAF files that were culled.
Of course, even with this growth it’s still far from the radar of Joe Netuser. Friendster’s still growing and Orkut is gaining a lot of attention.
What’s the use of all this? I’m not sure yet. But somehow, though perhaps perversely, it is fun. If you want to play, add me to your FOAF.