Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Peer-to-peer Exchange' 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
12 MARCH 2009

Mimi Ito: ecologies of cultural production and exchange

"Many of the essays in this volume bear witness to the powerful alchemy of personal cultural production and communication combined with large–scale networks of digital distribution and archiving. While the implications of peer–to–peer exchange for the media industries have attracted considerable public attention, there has been much less consideration of how these exchanges operate in the everyday practices of individuals. In a world of networked and viral cultural exchange–of cultural life captured in distributed archives, indexed by search engines, and aggregated into microcontent feeds for personal information portals...

The current digital culture ecology introduces two key sociotechnical innovations central to my framing of the Yugioh case. The first (guided primarily by media industries and by Japanese culture industries in particular), involves the construction of increasingly pervasive mass–media ecologies that integrate in–home media such as television and game consoles, location–based media such as cinema and special events, and portable media such as trading cards and handheld games. Following the industry label, I call this the 'media mix.' The second (primarily user–driven) is characterized by peer–to–peer ecologies of cultural production and exchange (of information, objects, and money) pursued among geographically–local peer groups, among dispersed populations mediated by the Internet, and through national peer–to–peer trade shows. This is what I call 'hypersociality.' These twinned innovations describe an emergent set of technologies of the imagination, where certain offerings of culture industries articulate with (and provide fodder for) an exploding network of digitally–augmented cultural production and exchange, fed by interactive and networked cultural forms.

Together, these dynamics describe a set of imaginaries–shared cultural representations and understandings–that are both pervasive and integrated into quotidian life and pedestrian social identity, and no longer strictly bracketed as media spectacles, special events, and distant celebrity. I treat the imagination as a 'collective social fact,' built on the spread of certain media technologies at particular historical junctures (Appadurai 1996a, 5). Anderson (1991) argues that the printing press and standardized vernaculars were instrumental to the 'imagined community' of the nation state. With the circulation of mass electronic media, Appadurai suggests that people have an even broader range of access to different shared imageries and narratives, whether in the form of popular music, television dramas, or cinema. Media images are now pervasive in our everyday lives, and form much of the material through with we imagine our world, relate to others, and engage in collective action, often in ways that depart from the relations and identities produced more locally.

To appear in Joe Karaganis and Natalie Jeremijenko Ed., Structures of Participation in Digital Culture. Duke University Press, 2005."
(Mizuko Ito)

Fig. 1 Cika. 'Yu GI Oh Sketch Collection', Deviantart.



authorshipchildhood imaginationcomputer game charactercultural forms • cultural production and exchange • cultural signalscultureDigimondigital culture • digital culture ecology • digital technologydoujinfandom • hypersociality • media culture • media mixes • Mimi Itootakupeer-to-peer exchangepersonal cultural productionPokemonremix culturescriptiblesharingsocial constructionism • sociotechnical • Yugioh


Simon Perkins

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