Current social networks are broken, relying on a "walled garden" approach that stifles innovation and traps our personal data - so says Chris Messina of the DiSo project. But there is another way, of distributed networks based around portable identities. An early pioneer of the social web, a founder of the Barcamp and Open ID movements, he is well placed to examine the current state of social networking, and suggest improvements.
In this talk, Chris outlines his criticisms of existing networks such as Facebook and Myspace. He explains why we need to go from a centralized, system-centric model, to a distributed, person-centric model. He sees many potential benefits for users and the networks themselves, arising from lower barriers to entry and easier ways of updating information.
But despite the promise of DiSo, there is still a great deal of work to be done. In the final part of the talk, he describes some of the challenges facing distributed social networking and suggests some possible solutions to them. He also gives a brief overview of the key components of DiSo - activity streams, portable contacts, messaging, grouping - and some of the technologies, like Open ID, that are helping to bring them into reality.
Chris Messina, aka FactoryJoe, currently residing in San Francisco, is employed as an Open Source Advocate at identity company Vidoop. Messina was formerly co-founder of marketing agency Citizen Agency. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003 with a BA in Communication Design.
Messina is best known for his involvement in helping to create the BarCamp, Spread Firefox, and Coworking movements. Messina is an active proponent of Microformats and OAuth.
Messina co-founded Citizen Agency, a company which describes itself as an "Internet consultancy that specializes in developing community-centric strategies around product research, design, development and marketing," with Tara Hunt and Ben Metcalfe.
Messina is an advocate of open-source, most notably Firefox and Flock. As a volunteer for the Spread Firefox campaign, he designed the 2004 Firefox advertisement which appeared in The New York Times in 2004.
This free podcast is from our Graphing Social Patterns series.