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SOCNET  May 2003

SOCNET May 2003

Subject:

"Augmented Social Network" whitepaper

From:

Cynthia Typaldos <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 22 May 2003 18:22:39 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (200 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****

The new whitepaper "Augmented Social Network" touches on nearly every aspect
of the internet as a tool for social interaction.  I was a content
contributor thru Jan Hauser; the authors and producers are Jim Fournier,
Tree Leyburn, Ken Jordan, Neil Sieling, Jan Hauser, and Steven Foster.  The
paper is available as a pdf via a link in the description below.

The authors and publishers at PlaNetwork are asking for comments on this
draft -- please send them to Ken Jordan at [log in to unmask] NOT TO ME.

I will be speaking at the PlaNetwork conference on Saturday morning June 7th
and I hope to meet some of you there.

Please forgive me if you already received this thru another source.

******************
The authors and publishers at PlaNetwork are asking for comments on this
draft -- please send them to Ken Jordan at [log in to unmask] NOT TO ME.
*****************

Cynthia Typaldos
www.typaldos.com
www.softwareproductmarketing.com
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Fournier [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2003 5:42 PM
To: Cynthia Typaldos
Cc: Ken Jordan
Subject: Augmented Social Netowrks whitepaper

Greetings,

On behalf of Ken Jordan, Neil Sieling, Jan Hauser, and  Steven Foster, we
would like invite you to participate in a groundbreaking "peer review"
process.

Attached you will find an Abstract of an advance draft of a white paper
entitled: "THE AUGMENTED SOCIAL NETWORK: BUILDING IDENTITY AND TRUST INTO
THE NEXT-GENERATION INTERNET," a report from the LinkTank written by Ken
Jordan, Jan Hauser and Steven Foster.

It considers the following propositions:  Could the next generation of
online communications strengthen civil society by better connecting people
to others with whom they share affinities, so they can more effectively
exchange information and self-organize?  Could such a system help to
revitalize democracy in the 21st century?

The paper couples political analysis with a description of a technical
architecture that can be achieved with today's technology.

We are assembling a distinguished group of innovators in the fields of
online communications, social network theory, and public interest media to
read this draft of the paper and publish their feedback to the group via an
on-line "Collaboratory" designed specifically for this process.  The intent
is to generate a lively discussion amongst the reader group with the goal of
including an edited version of the feedback as part of the final
publication.

The review and feedback process will take place over the next few weeks,
leading up to the public presentation of the paper at the Planetwork
Conference: Networking a Sustainable Future in San Francisco, June 6-8,
2003.  For more on the conference, see: http://www.planetwork.net.

You can download a PDF of the full text of "THE AUGMENTED SOCIAL NETWORK:
BUILDING IDENTITY AND TRUST INTO THE NEXT-GENERATION INTERNET" at:
http://collaboratory.planetwork.net/linktank_whitepaper/ASN2003-05-15.pdf/fi
le_view

The white paper will be the basis for a collaboratory online discussion
process, facilitated by Blue Oxen Associates, and culminating in a three day
live collaboratory facilitated by The Knowhere Store, at the conference.
For more information, or to participate, visit:
http://collaboratory.planetwork.net

It is our hope that you will join us for this exciting dialogue, as your
insights and feedback are invaluable to making this document serve its
stated purpose.  If you know of others who you think should be included in
the "Collaboratory" process, please feel free to pass this on to them, or
send us their contact information and we will invite them to take part.

We would like to extend our gratitude in advance for your participation,

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Thompson & Jim Fournier, Planetwork

--------

THE AUGMENTED SOCIAL NETWORK:
BUILDING IDENTITY AND TRUST INTO THE NEXT-GENERATION INTERNET

A Link Tank Report
by Ken Jordan, Jan Hauser, and Steven Foster

Abstract

Could the next generation of online communications strengthen civil society
by better connecting people to others with whom they share affinities, so
they can more effectively exchange information and self-organize? Could such
a system help to revitalize democracy in the 21st century? When networked
personal computing was first developed, engineers concentrated on extending
creativity among individuals and enhancing collaboration between a few. They
did not much consider what social interaction among millions of Internet
users would actually entail. It was thought that the Net's technical
architecture need not address the issues of "personal identity" and "trust,"
since those matters tended to take care of themselves.

This paper proposes the creation of an Augmented Social Network (ASN) that
would build identity and trust into the architecture of the Internet, in the
public interest, in order to facilitate introductions between people who
share affinities or complimentary capabilities across social networks. The
ASN has three main objectives: 1) To create an Internet-wide system that
enables more efficient and effective knowledge sharing between people across
institutional, geographic, and social boundaries.  2) To establish a form of
persistent online identity that supports the public commons and the values
of civil society. 3) To enhance the ability of citizens to form
relationships and self-organize around shared interests in communities of
practice in order to better engage in the process of democratic governance.
In effect, the ASN proposes a form of "online citizenship" for the
Information Age.

The ASN is not a piece of software or a website. Rather, it is a model for a
next-generation online community that could be implemented in a number of
ways, using technology that largely exists today. It is a system that would
enhance the power of social networks by using interactive digital media to
exploit the transitive nature of trust through the principle of six degrees
of connection. As a result, people will be able to inform themselves and
self-organize more effectively -- in non-hierarchical, rhizomatic social
formations -- leading to more opportunities for engaged citizenship. Part 1
of the paper discusses the concepts behind the ASN, why it is important to
pursue such a project today, and the dangers civil society faces if it is
not pursued. Part 2 describes a technical architecture for the protocols and
software that would support a system of recommendations through trusted
third parties across the Internet as a whole. Part 3 offers recommendations
for first steps toward achieving the ASN.

The ASN weaves together four distinct technical areas into components of an
interdependent system. The four main elements of the ASN are: persistent
online identity; interoperability between communities; brokered
relationships; and public interest matching technologies. Each of these is
discussed in a separate section in detail.

The issue of persistent online identity is examined first through a contrast
between the needs of civil society and current initiatives in the commercial
sector, the Liberty Alliance Project and Microsoft's .Net identity system,
named Passport. The ASN calls for a public interest approach to online
identity that enables individuals to express their interests outside
contexts determined by commerce. This approach would include a digital
profile that has an "affinity reference" that would facilitate connections
to trusted third parties.

The section on interoperability between online communities starts with a
discussion of Reed's Law, which shows how the value of social networks grows
exponentially through interconnectivity. We then discuss how the ASN would
apply Reed's Law to online communities of practice in new ways, through the
creation of interoperability protocols that will enable individuals to cross
more easily between social networks. The ASN would create strategically
placed "doors" between online community infrastructures, which today act
like "walled castles."  Also discussed are the module software applications
necessary to extend the functionality of online community infrastructures so
they can support ASN activity.

The section on brokered relationships begins by discussing the importance of
brokering introductions between people using the ASN, and describes the
"introduction protocols" that would facilitate this process. While many ASN
introductions would be automated, others of a more sensitive nature will
require specialized brokering services that provide customized
introductions, appropriate to narrowly defined circumstances. These are
discussed, as well as current brokering systems that are developing relevant
technology.

The section on public interest matching technologies explains why it is
crucial for the civil society sector to participate in the creation of
online ontologies and taxonomies that are now shaping the semantic structure
of the Internet. Also discussed are the ways that matching technologies
enhance online communities, and how the ASN would develop protocols that
enable interoperability between online ontological frameworks. The latter
would enrich knowledge sharing between social networks by allowing distinct
communities to compare "knowledge maps," and easily access diverse
viewpoints.

The ASN could be achieved in an incremental manner, with software and
protocols developed among a relatively small group of participants, and
gradually adopted by larger online community systems as they see fit. The
ASN would be built on open standards, shepherded by a not-for-profit
initiative that coordinates efforts in the technical areas described above.
Aspects of the implementation could be undertaken by for-profit companies
that respect these open standards, just as companies today profit from
providing email or web pages. But to insure that ASN meets its public
interest objectives, participating organizations would have to agree to
abide by the ASN's principles of implementation.

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

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