Thinking Ahead: Sean some people did…you didn’t.

So the Guardian is reporting about Sean Parkers remarks at the Techonomy conference.

Thinking ahead.

None of us could possibly have understood what it would mean to have a billion or two billion people potentially using these platforms regularly,” said Parker. “That wasn’t something that factored into anyone’s analysis in the starting of these companies. You just want to be a successful company. You want to understand the mechanisms that work, you want to play into them, you want to reinforce them, you want to be a successful company.”

While it is refreshing to hear some self reflection after the fact about the consequences of building a social platform driven by profit with an incentive to get people to engage with it – personal and social costs be-dammed.

I think people did for-see and could understand some of the negative effects he is discussing – the problem is they just were not in the mix of young men founding these companies at the time.  The fact is the narrow demographic of who was empowered with funds to create these systems (By men likc Sean Parker and Peter Theil) and who thcy subsequently chose to hire and listen to early on (Read the Boy Kings to get the inside scoop on that) speaks volumes about what was built.

As a side note I developed an outline for building a distributed social network for spiritual activist leaders and their followers in 2003-4. I even raised $35,000 and had two protoypes build in Drupal.    I like to think if I got funding beyond that and had the chance to develop the vision we were thinking about the social consequences.

Communities considering the future of social tools and online communities did think thoughtfully about the future and how things could play out and what was needed to support things evolving well from a user-centric perspective.  A great starting point published in 2003 is the Augmented Social Network: Building Identity and Trust into the Next Generation Internet.

Facebook’s Problem = FSW Opportunity

ReadWriteWeb’s social Blog has an articule up referencing a conversation the author had with Mark Cuban about Facebook’s business model and integrity challenges.

Apparently Facebook is now going to charge brands a huge amount to reach the base of fans they have accumulated on facebook.

I’ve heard anecdotally about a huge brand that was complaining recently because it has spent four years building a following of millions of people, promoting its Facebook presence (and, by implication, Facebook itself) on expensive television ads – and now Facebook has flipped a switch and, overnight, their reach dropped by 40%.

So now they’re done. They’ve been burned, and, like Cuban, they’re looking elsewhere.

A few weeks back I as in a tweeted to a woman complaining how Facebook was shaping which of her friend’s updates she saw and even asking her to pay money to have her updates go to more of her friends. I said that when we had a federated social web she wouldn’t have this problem we would choose which of our friends we would follow and get updates from.

I attended my 3rd out of three federated social web summits last week eek it feels like last week it was 2 weeks ago just after IIW 15. Evan Prodromo pulled together an amazing group of folks working on key aspects of the challenge.

Phil Wolff and I presented about the emerging Personal Cloud offerings coming out of our community of companies (the Personal Data Ecosystem Startup Circle)

Tantek shared POSSE – Publish On your Own Site Syndicate Everywhere.

Even gave an update on where OStatus the stack of protocols that gives you twitter and facebook like functionality across services.

We learned about many other projects. too (you can see them on the wiki here).

I’m glad that folks like Mark Cuban are waking up to the fact there is an issue with Facebook and they should be looking elsewere. Facebook is to social what AOL and Compuserve were to e-mail. It will be disrupted by the Open Standards based infrastructure must of it based on Open Source code. People will have their own personal node on the network – a personal cloud where they will connect to others and to organizations they want to share with, connect with and do business with.

It would be great to see some big investments in core open infrastructure that can then be leveraged to make money afterwards. This is what Doc Searls is always saying you make money because of it not with it.  We need the web to continue extending to being the type that Nobody Owns, Everyone can Use it and Anyone improve it.  Open Standards are the key to this. I argue they are more important then open source code alone (look at diaspora open source but rolled its own way of doing things…and didn’t interoperate with other projects/efforts doing similar things)

If you were to ask me what would get us to the future fastest though it is open source implementations of those open standards are invaluable and what “investors” like Mark Cuban and others who are now seeing the danger of one company “owning” the social profiles and identities of a billion people should consider funding now with no strings attached.

I was asked by an investor group that I gave a day long briefing to about the the emerging Personal Data Ecosystem. I said I would give Evan Prodromo 12 million dollars no strings attached (as in you are not seeking a return on the money with more money) the deliverable for that money would be a working federated social web in 1 year. On that web one can build a huge variety of businesses and services in new ways not possible on today’s web (or at least not possible without creepy stalking and trackers and paying middle men like facebook to talk to your “fans”).  That web itself…shouldn’t be “owned” it needs to be created though.





The new Google+ Names process

Today people were tweeting/writing about the new google+ names policies. Well. I just went through it and it involves many screens and an appeal into the Kafkaesqe googleplex that takes up to 3 days before they approve your name request.  I think they should to this to EVERY user cause how do I know your name “is” David Smith…it just doesn’t trigger their dictionaries prompting inquiry into the legitimacy of your name…Ok but I digress…lets see how this works.

First you are discouraged from changing your name and limited to the frequency you can do so. You have to click “change name” to do anything.

[Read more…]

The Nymwars and what they mean: summary of my posts to date.

Update: Google relented a bit, however I am still waiting to see if my name of choice was approved. You can read about the process I had to go through here. The New Google Names Process


For those of you coming from the Mercury News story on the NymWars exploding

I STILL have my Google+ profile suspended for using a  [  .  ] as my last name.  Prior to that I had “Identity Woman” as my last name and prior to that… before I ever got a G+ profile and since I started using Gmail and Google Profiles I had a   [  *   ]as my last name. [see the complete list of posts about this whole saga below]

It is my right to choose my own name online and how I express it.  Names and identities are socially constructed AND contextual… and without the freedom to choose our own names, and the freedom to have different names (and identifiers) across different contexts we will end up with a social reality that I don’t want to live in: Participatory Totalitarianism.

[Read more…]

“Million” Persona March on Google

Just reading more posts people are pointing at and surfacing re: google+ and erasure. I was “erased” today (from being able to use Google+ not my gmail account) but this isn’t about me, its about the Persona’s.

You know IRL (in real life) when people kill you they suffer legal consequence, here with real persona it’s open season.  Its not right.  (Just read Raef’s Declaration of the Rights of Avatars – among the many bills of rights re: online identity and privacy I have collected).

So lets organize a March on Google for the rights of people with Persona’s.

When to share your real name? Blizzard and their Real ID plans.

I was recently CCed in a tweet referencing this article “Why Real ID is a Really Bad Ideaabout World of Warcraft implementing their version of a “Real ID” in a way that violated the trust of its users.

The woman writing the article is very clear on the identity “creep” that happened and got to the point of requiring users to use the Real ID account within the system to post on forums and EVEYWHERE they interacted on company websites.

She articulates clearly why this creates an unhealthy climate and a chilled atmosphere for many users.

[Read more…]

On Identity and Centralization

I was asked for a quote today to comment on F8 developments and the continuing apparent “centralization” of identity on that platform. It is not new for me to say these things but perhaps more crystallized…..

The turning point of the web becoming more social was mentioned several times today.

The issue at hand is fundamentally about FREEDOM: the freedom to choose who hosts your identity online (with the freedom to set up and host your own), the freedom to choose your persona – how you present yourself, what your gender is, your age, your race, your sex, where you are in the world. A prime example of WHY these freedoms are vital is the story of James Chartrand – you can read for yourself her story of being a “him” online as a single mother seeking work as a copy editor. Having a male identity was the way she succeeded.

We did a whole session at She’s Geeky the women’s technology unconference about women, identity and privacy online. ALL the women in that session had between 3-5 personas for different aspects of life and purposes. Many of those personas were ‘ungendered’ or male. I have not talked to many people of color about their online lives and persona management but should. I imagine that like women they choose for some of their persona not to identify racially.

Your “friends” shouldn’t be locked into a particular commercial context. This is where the work on client-side applications for identity management and social coordination for individuals are key. The browser was never designed to do these kinds of functions and I don’t think trying to make it do them is wise.

We need open “friend” standards where people are autonomous, without their identity tied to a commercial silo – like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, or any company. This is a vision of a web where I can “peer friend” my friends, and then no entity has power over our relationship. This requires people to be first-class objects on the web. Not easy to do, but essential for us to figure out.

Suicide Options for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

I have another post up on ReadWriteWeb that went up just after Christmas covering people who are choosing to leave Facebook or considering doing so along with the tools to help them.

Fed Up with Facebook Privacy Issues? Here is how to End it All.

It highlights two different Web 2.0 suicide machines; one is an art project called .

The service creates a virtual memorial for you and posts you on a suicide wall & they give you points for how many friends you had and how many of them choose to follow you to the “after life”. The leader board is here.  You can see the RIP page for one of the creators of the service – Gionatan Quintini here.

It received a cease and desist from Facebook and responded.

The response is not covered in the article (it wasn’t out when I wrote it). It has some great quotes that sound like language coming from the user-centric identity community.

5. My clients have the right to receive information, ideas, and photographs from those people whom are the legitimate proprietors of this data and can decide to share this data or to store it, with the prior consent of its respective owners. All of this is freedom of expression and the manifestation of thought and free circulation of ideas that is accepted and guaranteed in Europe and in the U.S.A.

6. Facebook cannot order the erasure of data that does not belong to it, acting against the free will of the owners of such data. This is not protection of privacy, but rather a violation of the free will of citizens that can decide freely and for themselves how to arrange their personal sphere.

We shall see how Facebook responds to this.

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is more comprehensive – covering LinkedIn & Twitter as well.

Here is the previous Read Write Web post on the changes in what is and is not public.

Demand for Web 2.0 suicides increasing

I went to the suidicemachine and got this message

We apologize to all our users for the breakdown of our service! Within the last hours the huge demand for 2.0 suicides completely overblew our bandwidth resources!

We are currently considering relocating to another serverfarm. Please consider suicide at a later moment and accept our apologies!

You can still try to catch a free slot, but chances are quiet low at the moment!

More from their site….

Faster, Safer, Smarter, Better Tired of your Social Network?

Liberate your newbie friends with a Web2.0 suicide! This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alterego. The machine is just a metaphor for the website which moddr_ is hosting; the belly of the beast where the web2.0 suicide scripts are maintained. Our services currently runs with, and! Commit NOW!

You can even see video’s about what happens as one uses the machine.

ok the FAQ’s get eve better…..

I always get the message “Sorry, Machine is currently busy with killing someone else?”. What does this mean?
Our server can only handle a certain amount of suicide scripts running at the same time. Please consider your suicide attempt at a later moment! We are very sorry for the inconvenience and working on expanding our resources.

If I kill my online friends, does it mean they’re also dead in real life?

What do I need to commit suicide with the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine?
A standard webbrowser with Adobe flashplugin and javascript enabled. So, it runs on Windows, Linux and Mac with most of browsers available.   

I can’t see my friends being killed, what happened?
Probably your flash-plugin is older than version 10? But yikes – you cannot stop the process anymore! Once you entered the login details, the machine is running the suicide script.   

If I start killing my 2.0-self, can I stop the process?

If I start killing my 2.0-self, can YOU stop the process?

What shall I do after I’ve killed myself with the web2.0 suicide machine?
Try calling some friends, talk a walk in a park or buy a bottle of wine and start enjoying your real life again. Some Social Suiciders reported that their life has improved by an approximate average of 25%. Don’t worry, if you feel empty right after you committed suicide. This is a normal reaction which will slowly fade away within the first 24-72 hours.

Do you store any data on your webserver, like password of the user?
We don’t store your password on our server! Seriously, it goes directly into /dev/null, which is equal to nirvana! We only save your profile picture, your name and your last words! Will the 2.0 suicide machine be available for other networks such as twitter and plaxo? We are currently working on improving our products!. Currently we are working on Flickr and Hyves, but of course we are eagerly thinking of ways to get rid of our “Google Lifes”.   

How does it work technically?
The machine consists of a tweaked Linux server running apache2 with python module. Selenium RC Control is used to automatically launch and kill browser sessions. This all driven by a single python/cgi script with some additional self-written libraries. ?Each user can watch her suicide action in real-time via a VNC remote desktop session, displayed on our website via an flash applet rendered live into the client’s webbrowser. We are also running some customized bash scripts plus MySQL in the background for logging and debugging, jquery for the website and a modified version of the great FlashlightVNC application built in Flex. Web2.0 Suicide Machine consists of roughly 1800 lines of self-written code.   

Why do we think the web2.0 suicide machine is not unethical?
Everyone should have the right to disconnect. Seamless connectivity and rich social experience offered by web2.0 companies are the very antithesis of human freedom. Users are entraped in a high resolution panoptic prison without walls, accessible from anywhere in the world. We do have an healthy amount of paranoia to think that everyone should have the right to quit her 2.0-ified life by the help of automatized machines. Facebook and Co. are going to hold all your informations and pictures on their servers forever! We still hope that by removing your contact details and friend connections your data is being cached out from their servers. This can happen after days, weeks, months or even years. Just deactivating the account is thus not enough! [emphasis mine]

How much does it cost to kill myself?
Usage of Web 2.0 Suicide machine is for free.   

Can I build my own suicide machine?
Theoretically yes! You’ll need a Linux WebServer (apache2) with perl and python modules (php should be installed as well). Further, you’ll need VNC-server and Java packages by Sun to launch selenium-remote applets. If you feel like contributing or setting up your own machine, please get in contact with us via email.

Facebook Privacy Changes leave us “Socially Nude”

Read Write Web published a guest post by me about how the changes at facebook last week leave us Socially Nude.

Facebook’s Privacy Move Violates Contract With Users

Your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List, and all the pages you subscribe to are now publicly available information on Facebook. This means everyone on the web can see it; it is searchable.

This represents just the latest instance of Facebook violating the contract it holds with its users. This is no small matter, either. Lots of people will have very real and valid objections to this arbitrary change to what’s public and what’s private on Facebook.

….an articulation of the nature of the social contract sites with social features have with users….

I wonder how many more times they will get strip us down, leaving our familiar social clothes and underware on the floor, and leaving us socially nude.

I think it is unethical and I agree with the concern that Jason Calacanis raises about how this will affect other Internet companies. “Facebook’s reckless behavior is… simultaneously making users distrust the Internet and bringing the attention of regulators.” This change will affect all of us working on building the new techno-social architecture of our society via the web.

Identity Dispute on Twitter

From Slashdot

SpuriousLogic spotted this story on the BBC, from which he excerpts:

“The High Court has given permission for an injunction to be served via social-networking site Twitter. The order is to be served against an unknown Twitter user who anonymously posts to the site using the same name as a right-wing political blogger. The order demands the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity and stop posing as Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney’s Blarney. The order says the Twitter user is breaching the copyright of Mr. Blaney. He told BBC News that the content being posted to Twitter in his name was ‘mildly objectionable.’ Mr. Blaney turned to Twitter to serve the injunction rather than go through the potentially lengthy process of contacting Twitter headquarters in California and asking it to deal with the matter. UK law states that an injunction does not have to be served in person and can be delivered by several different means including fax or e-mail.”

Community Contexts and Weaving Social Web

Yesterday morning I put up an early version of a model I have been thinking about since 2004 about linking face to face communities of different kinds and online social tools.

Community Contexts and Weaving the Social Web

It is an EARLY version – like 80% done. The diagrams will be improved – I threw in what was on the white board yesturday after our conversation. I am hoping with some feedback to complete it by the end of this month.

The Relationship Paper

Bob’s Relationship Paper is now available. If you haven’t read it yet – you should. It articulates a key point about the challenge regarding the current frame of social networks – relationships are just lines on a graph rather then being nodes that hold information about the nature and parameters of the relationship.

SXSW – Hula Hut edition of Social Web TV

Lots has happened here at SXSW – The previous post is what i put up on my blog was what we posted on the screen during the OpenID – Oauth and the Enterprise session. hash tag #sxswid

The next session that afternoon in the same room on Open Spec development was very entertaining and I will be writing about it more this week. Hash tag #sxswos

Yesterday after the She’s Geeky Lunch I headed out to the Hula Hut for the OpenID lunch – I couldn’t help but noticing when I arrived that i was the only woman at the table :) – it is one of the reasons I gave my blog its name – because in 2005 after working in the user-centric identity field for a year of going to meetings with the guys working on it I was the only woman I ever saw at a meeting about the topic.

Following that I hung out on the deck of the Hula Hut and talked with Dave Morin, David Recordon, Chris Messina, Josh Elman, Joseph Smarr, John McCrae the Gowally guy and others who were in and out.

While there Josh and I started talking about one of the things I blogged about the Facebook post I did from Day one of SXSW.

I am not sure if Facebook understands that having people use their “Real Names” is not actually what creates authenticity – the issue has been on the web is not “who you are in real life” but the inability to have online persona’s that are persistent over time and context. The investment into these and the ability to have them be useful has not been solved until recently.

It was decided this would be a good topic for Social Web TV so we recorded it on the spot.

I also got to invite folks to the Internet Identity Workshop happening May 18-20th in Mountain View.

Am I to “old” to get Facebook? – or do they not get it?

I am at SXSW this morning. I just came from the session “Is Privacy Dead or Just Very Confused?” about the difference between private and public spheres and how they are contextual and social contract dependent. They talked about how strange facebook was for merging all ones contexts together (this is my own critique of it). This post was written while listening to Dave Morin talk about the future of the facebook platform “The Search for a More Social Web” (it was really a product plug) – As he oppened the talk he gave us a history of human communication that had the personal computer preceding the ARPA Net (clearly he would benefit from a visit to the Computer History Museum where we hold the Internet Identity Workshop twice a year). While listening I can’t help but keep wondering if I am just to “old”.

When I was in my first year of university at UC Berkeley the web was just beginning to diffuse to widespread use in that context. We had LAND LINES then. I spent $300 a month on long distance to talk to friends back home in canada. I was not “socially” connected via electronic media back then. Some people from my “old lives” have found me in facebook but I don’t feel “socially connected” to them in that I really don’t think they care about what I am “doing now on the web” and I don’t really have an ongoing social relationship with them so that i want to know “all” about what they are doing. They are NOT my “friends” but in facebook they “are”. I don’t want to be rude and unfriend them I am “interested” in their lives – like would be interested in hearing from them once every couple months but they are not in my social world.

I notice a real gap between myself and those 10 years younger then me who had facebook IN highschool and college – they love it cause it keeps them connected to their “friends”. I wonder about this cultural social time divide.

Today I am hearing facebook talk again about how they have people’s “real identities” with their “real names” and how important this is for authenticity. Dave Morin is going around convincing people to switch from their online personal handles in twitter to their “real” names. I thought about just being “Kaliya” in twitter but decided that my online twitter persona and voice would be that of my “professional” self – “IDENTITY WOMAN” I do talk about some personal things I do and mention opinions outside of “just my professional self” but it is not “me” there are ideas and opinions and things i do on the web that are not for everyone to see and I don’t share them in twitter. What I don’t like about facebook and the idea of facebook connect is that it feeds “everything you do” by default to “everyone you know” (within that system – they call these people “friends”). I want to present different selves to different audiences not because I want to “hide” but because I am connected to very diverse communities/friends and they all don’t want to hear about everything I am going everywhere it is to much “social noise.”

I am not sure if Facebook understands that having people use their “Real Names” is not actually what creates authenticity – the issue has been on the web is not “who you are in real life” but the inability to have online persona’s that are persistent over time and context. The investment into these and the ability to have them be useful has not been solved until recently. Bob (his blog is Cesi n’est pas un Bob – a reference to the Rene Magritte painting Ceni n’est pas une pipe/This is not a pipe) and the folks at the Burton Group have been talking about the possibility of people creating Limited Liability Persona’s to create persona’s on the web that are linked to “you” if something goes wrong but is not linked.

The audience of mostly young men in their 20’s and 30’s many of them “developers” on the facebook platform cheered all that was announced today by Dave Morin. I was left wondering and wrote this post as a response.

I am a member of the bridge generation – between the hyper connected young “digital natives” and the digital immigrants. (I was on BBS’s in Highschool (the local school board set one up just for kids within the city school system – that is where I hung out). My child hood home had a rotary telephone). while on vacation in Canada this summer I was struck by the conversations that I overheard by people older then me dabbling in facebook and being kind of freaked out by it. (In Canada Facebook has much higher penetration into the “general” population). The conversations I was having with highlevel leaders in the nonprofit and social business world at a retreat I was at about the dangers of building on closed silo’s like facebook was just beginning to dawn on them – they now understood. I am also a woman and the conversation we had at She’s Geeky regarding women and their presentation of self and identity online was really good. WE ARE DIFFERENT then dudes in their 20’s in San Francisco.

So I wonder… Am I to “old” to get Facebook? – or do they not get it? “it” being the needs of older people and the ability to control in more fine grained ways what people see about me. “it” being the needs of women in social space online.

We shall see.

Peeling back the twitter layers

So, I am going to have to unfollow about 1000 people from twitter. This pains me to no end but I gotta do it.

I want to “know” the people I follow and all this week I have not turned on a twitter client cause my existing followers make to much noise. Having said this – I am going to be paying attention to and taking care of the @shesgeeky account more – so the women I am following there….I won’t be following so much as IdentityWoman – my theory is that this way I will actually listen to both these accounts rather then “ignoring both” like i am doing now.

Been tweeting for a year now

It is hard to believe but yes I have been tweeting for a year now. It was really two things that got me to try it – I was at a conference the value network cluster presenting about identity and bored out of my mind & Phil Windley talked about how it was helping his team connect and why he found it useful from a business perspective.

It is interesting to watch it grow and change. I basically agree with this article. Social Media “Experts” are the Cancer of Twitter (and Must Be Stopped) They are annoying and not “real”.

I wish that there were tools to pick who you pay attention to developed sooner and embedded in twitter. I now follow over 1000 people (Why you ask? well I opened up my twitter to the public and started following many of the people who followed me. I do it out of respect of listening to those listening to me – to get outside of my bubble of “only people I know”) and wish there was a way to pick out the 25 or so folks in the identity community that I know are blogging – just follow them. Yes you can do this in tweet deck I know but…I have to scroll through all 1000 people listed by handle (not name as displayed in my client). I think we should have a twitter aggregator just like we have a blog aggregator at planet identity. Then i could be sure to read all the tweets.

I think we are still witnessing the tip of the twitter iceburg.

Here is an amazing Data Flow presentation of tweets about the inauguration mapped in time and on a map of the world. (off topic but they have a cool map of the growth of Walmart too).

The Day of Connects – review of blog posts

So today Google Friend Connect and then Facebook Connect opened up their services today . Techcrunch is framing about dominance of internet identity.

The three horse race between Facebook, Google, and MySpace to achieve dominance in the internet identity space doesn’t appear to be letting up any.

What seems to be missing is the fact that Google and MySpace are implementing standards that are being developed in community and are open – meaning other players can play too.

Marc – long, long, long time advocate for open identity tools and systems on the web for people (he was talking about this at meetings I happen to run into him at in 2002-2003) does a good job of articulating the issues with facebook.

It’s all about about ‘Facebook across the Web’. Not about the Open Web.

ReadWriteWeb says this and

Open Source vs. Proprietary technology isn’t just about desktop software anymore – now it’s about our identities and social connections, all around the web.

has a nice little Mind Map comparing the two:

They invite people to edit it too.

This is interesting – Facbook is the “MAC” and Google is the “PC”
He likes Facebook because it has


I find it strange the people like it cause it has “real identity” I don’t want to use it because FACEBOOK mushes me all together – I do have different communities of friends and interests. I don’t think they all care or want to know everything I do on the web.

This blog user found installing Google Friend connect a lot easier.

This is an interesting frame from MySpaceFaceTube

If there were an OpenID for Dummies book, its publisher would be Facebook Connect….
The remaining advantage for OpenID is that it doesn’t tether users to one service – since so many companies are now identity providers, just about everyone already has an account somewhere they can use on sites that accept OpenID logins….

And, according to Facebook, early testing of Connect shows a 50 percent increase in engagement on websites that have implemented it.

John McCrae had a good post about the announcements calling it the Birthday of the Social Web.

He links to this CNET post

Sites will adopt Facebook Connect for two reasons. First, their users are already actively using it; millions of users have OpenID log-ins and don’t even know it. And second, because it’s not just a registration system, it’s that marketing channel.

I think this quote makes the point that it is TIME for all the major OpenID to educate the user-bases they have that have an OpenID and don’t know it that they have one and and how they can use it. Perhaps they can hire Common Craft to explain it In Plain English :)

One of the sessions at IIW that didn’t actually have notes submitted was about Activity feeds (in Session 8) – I think getting an open standard for these and enabling users with this functionality is part of what will make a viable open alternative to Facebook Connect.

XRD – which is a key component of the open stack made a lot of progress at IIW.

I am quite hopeful that openness will succeed and purpose of Identity Commons to support, facilitate, and promote the creation of an open identity layer for the Internet — one that maximizes control, convenience, and privacy for the individual while encouraging the development of healthy, interoperable communities, will be fulfilled.

Is Zivity Porn or not?

So, This summer there was some what of an controversy about the sponsorship of Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner by Zivity (a porn + social networking site where the men pay and get points to divvy up to women who’s “pin-up” photos are posted – and they can also “friend them”). I noticed this sponsorship when the organizer tweeted about it. I went to the site only to find out that on top of sponsoring they would be sending Photographers to the event to “shoot” us. I saw Zivity taking photos at the Crunchie Awards – (you can see the photos posted on Flickr with the Zivity tag.) This type of party photography just seemed totally inappropriate for a professional networking event.

I tweeted back “I find it ODD that you have a porn site sponsoring your next event and ‘shooting’ the women at the event. why sexualize us?”

Let me state the issue arising about BAGGD and Zivity sponsoring it:

The issue is about a porn company sponsoring a women in technology professional networking event AND having the porn company sponsor the photographers – who would be at the event taking pictures.

Those of us who were upset by the sponsorship and photographing objected to actually having this happen to us – to have our images be taken and tagged by a porn company and therefore implicitly endorsing them.

I had a lot going on this summer and didn’t have the energy to dive into the conversation on the blogs at the time. I did try to reach out to Angie Chang the organizer to meet with her face to face and talk before the dinner. She was unable to meet. Mary Hodder did a great job summarizing our attempted engagement with the organizers about the issue.

Recently Susan Mernitt attempted to write about the difference between, different generations of women and how the uproar about this event was an sample of the divide and a need for a bridge. Both Mary Hodder (comment 1,9) and I (comment 5,10) responded with a long comments about the nature of the issues that the BAGGD, Zivity sponsorship and her article raised for women in technology.

This is not about is porn good or bad? The issue is about where is its presence appropriate and where is it completely not appropriate. We have generally accepted social norms and now have legal regulation that it is not ok to have pornographic pictures posted in the workplace. I just don’t get how the BAGGD organizers thought it was appropriate to have a porn company sponsor and take photos at an event for women who work in technology. (They get that the Spock snafoo at Web 2.0 expo 2 years ago was not ok.) I don’t care if one of the 5 people who founded the company is a woman. It is porn and I don’t want to have to deal with the company taking my photo in the context of my professional work life and making women feel that they have to “be ultra-beautiful” to attend a networking event for women related to their day jobs in tech.

Several women spoke with Mary Hodder (who blogged about the issue before the event) directly saying that they “didn’t feel/look good enough to go.”

So some argue that the Zivity site is not actually porn (including the company – the have a motto “It’s not Porn it’s Pinups”). So this question is it or is it not porn is another layer of the debate. So yesterday when Jonathan Eunice tweeted this –

So, Zivity? Attractive girls taking their clothes off? How’s that gonna wo… Oh… Wait… I see. Getting it now.
I just had to ask him what he “got” about it – because of this ongoing is or is it not porn question.

@jonathaneunice what are you getting about Zivity? that it is actually porn even thought it says that it isn’t?

The conversation continued with side comments from Kevin Marks and Sillicon Calley……

BTW for those of you wondering about “why twitter” this is one of the reasons I like it — interesting conversations happen. For those of you not familiar with norms of twitter conversation @person’sName is a way in the medium to indicate who you are talking to. This whole conversation is public on twitter – you could go search for it and stich it all together – I also asked Jonathan if I could blog it before posting this.

JonathanEunice: @IdentityWoman Zivity is clearly porn–tho’ of soft, “artfully photographed” variety. Of course, so are many photos in mainstream mags.

JonathanEunice: Porn = images intended to stimulate desire. So Zivity, yes, but also much of Travel & Leisure, Maxim, Vogue, Architectural Digest, etc.

IdentityWoman: @jonathaneunice – that frame “Porn = images intended to stimulate desire.” is a good one to consider. What about “beauty without context”

JonathanEunice: Food porn, furniture porn, travel porn, fashion porn–we are awash in it. It all screams: Buy this! Be that! Want that!

JonathanEunice: @IdentityWoman Is SuicideGirls or Zivity different from W, Vogue, or GQ? More nudity yes, but worse self-esteem? I’d wager better. YMMV.

SiliconCalley: @identitywoman i hate the word porn, its too subjective. some people think that paintings of nude women are porn, some think its art

SiliconCalley: @identitywoman i don’t think zivity is porn, if it was the business model wouldn’t work. who wants to pay to connect to a model in porn?

IdentityWoman: @siliconCalley – I would ask it the other way – who DOESN’T want to pay to connect to a model in porn? seems like an obvious evolution

kevinmarks: @IdentityWoman isn’t porn in the eye of the beholder, not the intent of publisher? Some people get excited by pictures of feet on Flickr

SiliconCalley: @kevinmarks re: zivity touché! you are so wise.

SiliconCalley: @identitywoman porn for most people is a very private thing, and i don’t think that people usually want to be “social” with porn.

SiliconCalley: speaking of zivity…would anyone like an invite?

JonathanEunice: @jonathaneunice so what is the issue? @siliconcalley thinks that Zivity isn’t porn cause it is “social” and porn is private.

JonathanEunice: Just with client in my “CTO on demand” capacity. So back to the porn discussion…

JonathanEunice: @IdentityWoman I don’t think beauty needs any further context. But beauty (or Beauty, if you’re a Platonist) isn’t the issue here.

JonathanEunice: @IdentityWoman The issue here: 1. images and 2. asymmetry.

IdentityWoman: @jonathaneunice issues being 1) the images are about sexual desire 2)the guys linking to women are not also posing with their cloths off?

JonathanEunice: Images add distance, objectify. Thus beauty without interaction. Leading to asymmetry.

JonathanEunice: She is publically naked, I am not. She is identifiable, I am anonymous. That imbalance, I think, gets to heart of porn-iness.

JonathanEunice: In the spirit of oversharing: I prefer au naturel beaches. But much more symmetric. I am equally naked, exposed. Also, present, not distant.

IdentityWoman: @jonathaneunice – thanks for that (over)sharing. It makes the point about presence and embodiment rather then distance and

JonathanEunice: There’s a vast difference between looking at pictures of selected, carefully made up, airbrushed women (= porn) and…

JonathanEunice: …being with genuine, come-as-you-are nude women when you’re also nude. Isn’t that the diff btwn ‘nude’ and ‘naked’ (or ‘nekkid’)?

JonathanEunice: Today’s irony: Despite the porn diacussion, yet again asked to have drinks “with the girls” after work.

JonathanEunice: A simple Zivity joke turned into serious discussion. Pity the poor jokster!

JonathanEunice: I did. Very classy high quality photography. But at root still pics of naked chicks. High end porn still porn IMO.

what about Flickr?

I don’t want to get to emotional about this

But this is how I feel about the Microsoft letter and flickr. I am not even that big a flickr user but I like it – I joined when all my friends in the tech world were signing up and sharing photos and I wanted to to. It was at the time an independent company and was subsequently acquired by Yahoo! Now with this hostile take over situation with MSFT it could be owned by THEM. It is really devastating to think that all the energy I and others put into this space would be owned by THEM. BTW this also applies to Delicious – I don’t use it that much but I like it.

The thing I wonder about is – could the fans of flickr (and delicious) raise enough money to buy them from Yahoo! to prevent them being owned by MSFT. I bet you there would be enough community support (read money) that would come forward to prevent the sale. I really could care less about Yahoo!’s home page or its search or even its mail services – MSFT can have them for all I care. I do care about the products and services I use and have an emotional resonance with me cause I LIKE THEM. How can community space be owned by communities – could flickr become the first consumer cooperative on the web? I know I am dreaming big and this is not likely but I just had to put it out there.

Update: I am making a strong distinction between the acquisition of Yahoo! the internet portal/services company and the identity efforts that MSFT is an active participant.

So let me be totally clear I completely respect all the people that I have met at MSFT working on user-centric digital identity.

Every promise Kim Cameron has made to the community about openness and disclosure has happened. There has been real collaboration between the OpenID community and MSFT culminating with their joining the board. At RSA last week MSFT was a very active participant and supporter of the OSIS interop. Mike Jones is doing amazing work to weave all the efforts together so a real identity meta-system with plurality can emerge.

All the MSFT participants have been more then good community actors since the identity gang began over three years ago now.

I distinguish between their work in the field of identity AND the potential aquision/takeover of the same company one of the major internet portals – that I happen to have a strong personal relationship with. Last time I checked it wasn’t the “great” identity guys that would be in charge of the new Yahoo! acquisition – I am happy to be proven wrong though.

I don’t feel it is right to ask me to be silent about my discomfort regarding this impending acquisition.

The Creepy Data

So Auren Hoffman e-mailed me regarding a blog post he just did about men and women and social networking. This subsequently pointed to his ‘research data’ which he does not disclose the way it was acquired.

There are three names for this company (more details can be seen in this post). One of them UpScoop gets users to enter their user-name and passwords for all their social networks – then “upscoops” the contact information of their friends and ‘scrapes’ all data it can see by logging in as those users. It then creates a database keyed to e-mail addresses for those users. This is an “opt-out” system – everyone is in it until they opt out – basically the ‘credit rating’ like system for social networks.

Then what happens is campaigns and social movement sites are approached by Trust Fuse to run the e-mail addresses they gather from supporters or those who want more information against their giant data base of e-mail addresses and it returns information about the person – their ‘real name’ their ‘age’ their ‘profession’ or what other information they are collecting (they make a point of NOT collecting sexual orientation information – this makes me feel soooo much safer about this ‘opt-out’ system).

I have had a conversation with leaders of a major social movement building organization and they have been approached by RapLeaf/UpScoop/TrustFuse to pay to run their e-mail addresses through their API.

I don’t think this model is respectful of human dignity in the online world.

I hope that Auren and people from his company can make it to both the Data Sharing Workshop and Summit & the Internet Identity Workshop.

Why now with the Data Sharing Workshop/Summit?

Link to the Data Sharing Workshop and Summit.

There is a lot of energy right now around different ideas on how to share data across social media sites. Based on current discussions on the lists and other places, it is clear that a range of potential standards and approaches are emerging.

The energy feels a lot like it did when Phil, Doc and I called the first Internet Identity Workshop – at that time there was a cluster of people thinking about and working on different technologies around user-centric identity. We had been meeting other conferences, but we had not spent time together to really hear different proposed approaches. They all had similar ideas. We recognized this and realized that if we brought them together, it would lead to the emergence of shared understanding and interesting alignments.

At IIW 1 the first day involved participants presenting their different approaches to user-centric identity. The second day was open space – an organized way to support critical conversations that emerged out from listening to all the presentations the day before. It was on that day that the serious conversation between Brad Fitzpatrick & David Recordon’s OpenID(1), Johannes Earnst’s LID, Drummond Reed’s xri/inames all had a conversation that lead to a commitment to meet up a month later and that conversation became Yadis – a group that was joined by SXIP a few months later and then a few months later this was all folded in and became OpenIDv2.

Another outcome of the Internet Identity Workshop has not matured yet but it is coming along. The card selector metaphor, interfaces and client code to do it are starting to be tested and deployed. The cooperate between Kim Cameron and his Microsoft team with IBM and the Higgins & Bandit open source projects has been fostered at these events. The OSIS (Open Source Identity System) Project and Concordia projects are both doing workshops interoperability testing at the forthcoming RSA conference. OSIS has over 200 test in their Interop. The range of actors (standards efforts, open source projects, commercial projects and companies) collaborating is impressive.

Phil, Doc and I didn’t know that these would be an “outcomes” of the event and certainly did not have it as a “goal.” What we did know was that by getting people together to share their ideas, technology approaches and standards, some good would happen – that is, collaboration, synergy and actual investment in and diffusion of user-centric technologies. We also chose a format with open space that left an open playing field – we were not deciding who got to talk, about what or when. This explicitly neutral unpolitical way of organizing also facilitated the collaborative environment.

My goal for the 2nd Data Sharing Summit is to bring together participants from

1) the large companies with 10s of millions of users like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, MySpace, Facebook, AOL, Amazon, eBay etc.

2) Small and Medium sized ‘web 2.0’ sites like LinkedIn, RapLeaf, Eventful, Dopplr, Linquia, Dabble, 30Boxes, Magnolia the whole range of Web 2.0 startups that are focused on services for people that involves peoples data.

3) The Standards Guys (Both adhoc and formal) Those putting forward a range of different approaches being proposed for managing the personal data/social network problem. This includes people from the user-centric identity efforts, semantic web standards and tools,

4) Social/Legal/Policy Implications Those thinking about and addressing the social and legal implications of the emerging technologies.

Bringing this range of people together will be key ingredient to getting this gathering be fruitful – I know because of who they are and the passion they have for the topic it will be. I am not going to define ahead of time “what the fruit looks like”

My hope is that there are some similar approaches that can discover each other “now” rather then a year from now when they are ‘going to market’ and decide to cooperate and merge efforts sooner rather then later (like happened with OpenID).

I asked two colleagues who will be attending what he thought the goals were:
* To establish shared consensus about the meaning of data sharing and portability for Internet users.
* To articulate a roadmap for how this can be achieved (and for determining “when we are there”).
* To understand what parts of this roadmap are technical and which are business/social/political/legal.
* To understand which technologies are available and which are emerging to achieve the roadmap.
* To determine how to move forward on the business/social/political/legal challenges.
* get disparate orgs ot work together
* get consensus on standards – and feedback
* identify missing standards
* get testing and compatibility labs -set up!
* and from an evangelistic POV – get Opt-In include din all systems

I think all of these will move forward in the format of Open Space and the collective participation and discernment at the beginning middle and end of the conference.
You can add goals here.

When I think about this gathering the big questions include:
* how do people link their information together across platforms with different services?
* how are permissions managed?
* what are the policies that apply?
* what standards exist?
* what code / frameworks are available to do this?
* what does it mean when my blog is the center of my network?
* is there a standard way to update presence?
* how do the identity tools (openID, oAuth, card selectors, data linking) apply?
* how do semantic web frameworks apply?

I hope to create a high-level professional community that is very engaged with these issues because they want to empower their users to have a copy of their data, to be aware of how it is used and to be able to use their data in interesting ways.

I also hope that a community will emerge that will work together, compete over different options and in the end solve the challenging set of problems that need to be addressed to get data sharing to work.

Social Network Stack proposed by Phil

My friend Phil Wolff over at Skype Journal has been thinking about Social Network Stack – He had a great diagram there and describes it this way:

We need a new stack to sort out social media’s plumbing.

Introducing the Social Stack’s Six Zones of Interoperability.

* ID (Account lifecycles, Login)
* Sync (Profile, Contacts, Objects)
* Permission (Policy, Licensing)
* Find (People Search, Discovery, Gatekeepers)
* Action (Group Actions, Relationship Actions)
* Now (Alerting, Presence)

Community providers like Skype stand to gain as their architectures first recognize/design, then adopt and apply the Social Stack’s standards. As with the first stack, the Social Stack will attract:

* Engineers amazed and delighted at how convenient it is to build solutions or integrate existing systems by using well documented patterns and protocols.
* Entrepreneurs hungry for the chance to build unique value atop commodity plumbing
* Capital seeking to unleash new markets
* Consumers flying to seamless onlife experiences

Porn Spam App infects Facebook and “no one” cares?

Mary Hodder has a post up titled: Trashing Our Social Relationships (with Porn) to Get Your Numbers Up. It is quite insightful about the issues that aries when investment is based on ‘numbers’ rather then qualities of relationship.

This situation expresses clearly the social ‘issues’ that arise with the ‘open identity layer’ or ‘social layer’ or meta-systems. The kinds of behavior enabled via the social graph being ‘traversable’. I hope that some reason can prevail and the acceptable norms can emerge soon.

I wonder how open standards for portable social network information will deal with these problems.

The Porn picture app this is what happens:

Nothing “happens.” Except that the message was forwarded to the one person I left checked. In other words. It’s trick porn spam, features courtesy of Facebook and Slide.

So I sent in complaints to both companies (neither have contacted me back after a month — guys, it’s a social network, you know how to reach me.. give it a try!!)

After a while, I called people in each company that I knew through the tech comany. And was appalled at the responses I got. Now, these are people I know socially, and they gave me the real answers, but with the expectation that I would not attribute to them. However, I am confident that their answers reflect the culture and real value sets within these companies.

Facebook pointed the finger at Slide (the app maker in this case), and said, “There is nothing we can do. We have no control over the apps people make or the stuff they send.” Oh, and if I wanted Facebook to change the rules for apps makers? I’d have to get say, 80k of my closest Facebook friends to sign on a petition or group, and then they might look at the way they have allowed porn spam to trick people into forwarding, but until then, there would be no feature review.

Slide said that they thought Facebook was the problem, because as the “governing” body, Facebook makes the rules and “Slide wouldn’t be competitive if they changed what they do, and their competitors weren’t forced to as well.” In other words, Slides competitors use the same features to get more users (or trick more users as the case may be) and Slide didn’t want to lose out on getting more users with similar features, regardless of the effect the features have on us and our relationships.

Also both companies told me that blogging doesn’t affect them, because they don’t read blogs. The only thing they pay attention to are Facebook groups. Because they don’t look at problems that a single person discovers.

So in other words, a person with a legitimate complaint needs to have massive agreement and numbers in a Facebook group before these companies will even discuss a problem.

And, Slide and Facebook are willing to trash our relationships (real relationships) in order to get more numbers.

Now, note that many of the folks who sent the various porn spam (not just the ones in the photos above) sent very apologetic notes, because they were mortified that they had send their contacts porn spam.

Think about that. Your social networking / application software tricks you into doing something terribly socially embarrassing and you have to apologize? Wo. That’s really messed up.

In other words, your social networking software / applications are, gasp, anti-social.

So I have to ask, if these young boys (Zuckerberg, the app makers in the class at Stanford, etc) are so clueless about relationships and social protocols, that they would build apps and a system that promotes bad behavior like this, where are their mentors? Where are their funders (who presumably have some input and sway into what’s going on)? Why aren’t Peter Thiel and Dave McClure or even Jeff Clavier (who sounded like he was trying to or has invested in some of the guys from the apps class at Stanford) advising these people that while they are experimenting, that these are real established relationships, and Facebook is now mainstream, and therefore the apps can’t do this to people? I mean, it seems logical (and has happened in cultures around the world for millennia) that older, wiser men would advise young, clueless hormone driven boys how to act in the community. And what of Max Levechin? I mean, he’s kind of in the middle, age wise, but shouldn’t he know better than this?

Is the desperation for fame and money so great, that people would simply eschew social concerns in favor of ratings which then equal higher company valuations, and more billions on paper? Or do you want your claim to fame to be: “At least 15 million minutes wasted” from your experiments on Facebook (as I would imagine the Stanford student described above could claim)?

I guess the answer is yes, and so my response is, I can’t trust Slide, or Facebook. Nor do I have respect for their founders if this is the way they handle themselves and their companies.


Well, I remember having a conversation … Facebook as a whole, and a lot of people in general, were persuaded by the argument that You don’t want to get into legislating moral behavior. And really, it’s bad enough in government, but its more than just odd to put that kind of responsibility in the hands of programmers, its a horrible nuisance for those people that just want to build web applications.

But now they are on the long slope after achieving market dominance … they have to go back and tune all this stuff. Since they didn’t sell the company, they might not have a conflict of interest in restricting and redesigning the ACLs.