***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Prof. Richard's untimely death is a tragic loss to our community. As a -very- junior scholar I'm in no position to sufficiently eulogize. Yet, I felt compelled to reply to this, the last message he sent (which I realize he merely forwarded rather than write). It's a compelling thought experiment about the state of the art of the internet social networks - and helps contextualize how far social networks have come during his career. This wasn't a question forwarded on someone's behalf, but an ambitious idea I think he wanted to community to ponder. If we could all sign off with such vision. Bill has helped feather a bountiful nest for the younger academics like myself. I'm happy I met him at Sunbelt Vancouver and I wish I had the opportunity to say thanks. BERNiE [log in to unmask] On 8/21/07, Bill Richards <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** > > *'Thoughts on the Social Graph'* (http://bradfitz.com/social-graph-problem/) > > *Problem Statement:* > > *There are an increasing number of new "social applications" as well as > traditional application which either require the "social graph" or that > could provide better value to users by utilizing information in the > social graph. What I mean by "social graph" is a the global mapping of > everybody and how they're related, as Wikipedia describes > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_graph> and I talk about in more > detail later. Unfortunately, there doesn't exist a single social graph > (or even multiple which interoperate) that's comprehensive and > decentralized. Rather, there exists hundreds of disperse social graphs, > most of dubious quality and many of them walled gardens. . . . .* > > > *Goals: > > # Ultimately make the social graph a community asset, utilizing the data > from all the different sites, but not depending on any company or > organization as "the" central graph owner. > > 1. Establish a non-profit and open source software (with copyrights held > by the non-profit) which collects, merges, and redistributes the graphs > from all other social network sites into one global aggregated graph. > This is then made available to other sites (or users) via both public > APIs (for small/casual users) and downloadable data dumps, with an > update stream / APIs, to get iterative updates to the graph (for larger > users) > 2. While the non-profit's servers and databases will initially be > centralized, ensure that the design is such that others can run their > own instances, sharing data with each other. Think 'git', not 'svn'. > Then whose APIs/servers you use is up to you, as a site owner. Or run > your own instance. > > # For developers who don't want to do their own graph analysis from the > raw data, the following high-level APIs should be provided: > > 1. Node Equivalence, given a single node, say "brad on LiveJournal", > return all equivalent nodes: "brad" on LiveJournal, "bradfitz" on Vox, > and 4caa1d6f6203d21705a00a7aca86203e82a9cf7a (my FOAF mbox_sha1sum). See > the slides for more info > (http://bradfitz.com/social-graph-problem/social-graph.pdf). > 2. Edges out and in, by node. Find all outgoing edges (where edges are > equivalence claims, equivalence truths, friends, recommendations, etc). > Also find all incoming edges. > 3. Find all of a node's aggregate friends from all equivalent nodes, > expand all those friends' equivalent nodes, and then filter on > destination node type. This combines steps 1 and 2 and 1 in one call. > For instance, Given 'brad' on LJ, return me all of Brad's friends, from > all of his equivalent nodes, if those [friend] nodes are either > 'mbox_sha1sum' or 'Twitter' nodes. > 4. Find missing friends of a node. Given a node, expand all equivalent > nodes, find aggregate friends, expand them, and then report any missing > edges. This is the "let the user sync their social networking sites" > API. It lets them know if they were friends with somebody on Friendster > and they didn't know they were both friends on MySpace, they might want > to be. > > But more generally, for developers, enabling new kinds of apps we > haven't been able to think of yet. > > * > > -- > Bill Richards > > _____________________________________________________________________ > SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social > network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send > an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line > UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message. > _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.