Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Centralised Platform' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 FEBRUARY 2014

An Introduction to the Federated Social Network

"To understand how federated social networking would be an improvement, we should understand how online social networking essentially works today. Right now, when you sign up for Facebook, you get a Facebook profile, which is a collection of data about you that lives on Facebook's servers. You can add words and pictures to your Facebook profile, and your Facebook profile can have a variety of relationships – it can be friends with other Facebook profiles, it can be a 'fan' of another Facebook page, or 'like' a web page containing a Facebook widget. Crucially, if you want to interact meaningfully with anyone else's Facebook profile or any application offered on the Facebook platform, you have to sign up with Facebook and conduct your online social networking on Facebook's servers, and according to Facebook's rules and preferences. (You can replace 'Facebook' with 'Orkut,' 'LinkedIn,' 'Twitter,' and essentially tell the same story.)

We've all watched the dark side of this arrangement unfold, building a sad catalog of the consequences of turning over data to a social networking company. The social networking company might cause you to overshare information that you don't want shared, or might disclose your information to advertisers or the government, harming your privacy. And conversely, the company may force you to undershare by deleting your profile, or censoring information that you want to see make it out into the world, ultimately curbing your freedom of expression online. And because the company may do this, governments might attempt to require them to do it, sometimes even without asking or informing the end–user.

How will federated social networks be different? The differences begin with the code behind online social networking. The computer code that gives you a Facebook profile is built in a closed way – it's proprietary and kept relatively secret by Facebook, so you have to go through Facebook to create, maintain, and interact with Facebook profiles or applications.

But federated social network developers are doing two things differently in order to build a new ecosystem. First, the leading federated social networking software is open–source: that means that anybody can download the source code, and use it to create and maintain social networking profiles for themselves and others. Second, the developers are simultaneously collaborating on a new common language, presumably seeking an environment where most or even all federated social networking profiles can talk to one another.

What will that likely mean in practice? To join a federated social network, you'll be able to choose from an array of 'profile providers,' just like you can choose an email provider. You will even be able to set up your own server and provide your social networking profile yourself. And in a federated social network, any profile can talk to another profile – even if it's on a different server.

Imagine the Web as an open sea. To use Facebook, you have to immigrate to Facebook Island and get a Facebook House, in a land with a single ruler. But the distributed social networks being developed now will allow you to choose from many islands, connected to one another by bridges, and you can even have the option of building your own island and your own bridges."

(Richard Esguerra, 21 March 21 2011, Electronic Frontier Foundation)



2011abstraction layeragency of access and engagementautonomy • centralised infrastructure • centralised platformcommon interfaceComputer Supported Cooperative Work • content distribution networks • data contextdecentralisation • decentralised architecture • decentralised infrastructure • distributed ecosystemdistributed models • distributed social network • Distributed Social Networking (DOSN) • distributed social networks • distributed systemElectronic Frontier Foundation • Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) • Facebook • Federated Social Networks (FSN) • Google Wave Federation Protocol • hCard • information ecosysteminteroperabilityknowledge commonsLinkedInlocalisationmultiplatform • OAuth • Online Social Networks (OSN) • open architecture • open protocol • Open Stack • open standardsOpenID • OpenSocial • Orkut • OStatus • peer-to-peer exchange • Portable Contacts (open protocol) • social network aggregation services • software portability • structural abstraction • system scalability • technology integrationTwitter • user application data • user autonomy • Wave Federation Protocol • web feeds • web services • XFN • XRD


Simon Perkins
05 AUGUST 2012

Teach and Learn Online: Die LMS die! You too PLE!

"The PLE project recognises the fundamental flaws in Virtual Learning Environments or Learning Management Systems (VLE, LMS), but falls short in its vision of an alternative. At this stage in the project it is suggesting that the PLE be a desktop application for a student (sounds a bit like my old Perfect LMS idea) or a singular portal online.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll have to repeat my defining question about Internet enhanced learning, but this time in response to the PLE.

Question to the PLE: Why do we need a PLE when we already have the Internet? The Internet is my PLE, ePortfolio, VLE what ever. Thanks to blogger, bloglines, flickr, delicious, wikispaces, ourmedia, creative commons, and what ever comes next in this new Internet age, I have a strong online ID and very extensive and personalised learning environment. Actually I think the PLE idea is better envisioned by the futurist concept known as the Evolving Personalised Information Construct (EPIC). I think we already have EPIC, so why do we need the PLE?

To extend the statement: We insignificant little teachers and our out of date schools and classrooms don't need to be investing in media projects like VLEs, LMS and even PLEs. Our dam walls of knowledge have burst! and no amount of sand bagging will stop the flood that is clearly discrediting our authority over learning. Media, and with it communications, will evolve (as it certainly has in the last 50 years or more) well beyond the limitations of our classrooms, with investments and broadcast influence we can't even fathom. Why waste our precious money and time on projects that only serve to suspend our true position within that media scape. The PLE makes me think of ELGG, and it all makes me wonder why it is we educationalists still think we are even relevant anymore. The people (yes that includes us) are learning how to read and write for themselves, and in an amazing act of collective generosity, the people are teaching each other – why do they even need our classrooms... is it perhaps only credentialism that we offer? Or is it also sense of security and safety? Is it false?"

(Leigh Blackall, 13 November 2005)

Fig.1 "Lords of Graphite" by 5star (Neil Caldwell).



2005authorised voiceBlogger (software) • Bloglines • broadcast societycentralised platformclassrooms • collective generosity • Creative CommonscredentialismDeliciousdesktop application • desktop classroom • e-portfolio • educationalists • ELGG • EPIC (acronym) • ePortfolio • Evolving Personalised Information Construct • Flickrgift cultureinformation literacy • internet enhanced learning • learning and teaching • learning centre • Learning Management System • learning media • learning platform • learning portal • Leigh Blackall • LMSmedia literacymediascape • network literate • new Internet age • online portal • open Internet • Ourmedia • out of date • personalised learning environment • pervasive mediaPLEschools • singular portal online • virtual learning environmentsVLEWikispaces


Simon Perkins

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