Portable Social Networks at Mashup Camp

I’m doing a presentation today at Mashup University that I’ve titled Tapping the Portable Social Network that’s a code tour of how to create a social network that uses existing social connections and public data to make the sign up process for web sites easier. Of course, this whole idea came from Jeremy Keith.
It’s a very simple Rails app (that you can download) that only deals with the login/signup process using both OpenID and AOL’s OpenAuth.
Here are the basics…
If you log in with OpenID, it:
# grabs the identity URL, and looks for some microformats
# looks for an hcard and pre-fllls the profile
# looks for XFN-encoded links and searches the site for existing users with that homepage and gives you the option to add them as contacts when you sign up.
If you log in with OpenAuth, it:
# pre-fills your profile with URLs and data we think we know based on your screen name.
# grabs your buddy list and looks for folks who logged in with those screennames on the site and gives you the option to add them as contacts.
It’s dead simple and poorly documented, but works well so far, and I think the flow makes sense and has possibilities. You’re welcome to take it, the concept, the code, and do whatever you want with it.
The next step is to see what other open reliable sources of social data are out there that would make sense to look for during the sign up process.
UPDATE: Read the README file! There are several things you need to change in both the configuration, and one line in profile.js. The README documents all of the required changes and where to find them.

12 thoughts on “Portable Social Networks at Mashup Camp”

  1. Whohoo!! This is exactly what SNS’ should be doing. Dopplr does a pretty good job of it now, but it’s certainly not automated through any OpenID-ended discovery.
    Thanks for writing up this simple flow.

  2. Next we will be implanted with RFID and computers will know everything about us. Like The Minority Report.
    I think info on Social Networks should be limited to the bare minimum in order to get the networks together. But it appears that the advertisers want as much info as they can.
    BeachBum

  3. I do believe I have a commitment to have your babies to honour ;)
    This is so what needs to happen to make life easier for users of social networking sites.
    I just wish I knew enough Ruby to be able to contribute.
    – Neil.

  4. Good work but I think that any type of registration process is a crucial phase. Webmasters prefer to mantain it as simple as possible without any fringe. ( only some experienced users could use that procedure successfully ).

  5. Good work but I think that any type of registration process is a crucial phase. Webmasters prefer to mantain it as simple as possible without any fringe. ( only some experienced users could use that procedure successfully ).

  6. Hi. I’m working on social networks. My question is that:
    What about doing the same things using FOAF+OpenID instead of XFN and hCard?
    Isn’t FOAF more powerfull for social graph portability?
    Bye!

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