Do – Enough Talking; The Creation of the Social Web Acid Test

Recently, John Breslin, editor and publisher of, attended the federeated social web summit. A workshop held in Portland, Oregon. It was an invite only meeting which was denoted as being a “This is a “how” meeting, not a “why” or “whether to” meeting.”

The idea of the federated social web is to build upon open web protocols that allow for various web projects to interoperate.

As John says, we get the chance to create technology that will “allow many different websites to talk to each other, to communicate, to exchange information.” The point of the summit was to find out “what sort of technologies are out there and what sort of standards are out there to exchange information back and forth.”

Attendees from companies as diverse as Appleseed, diaspora , onesocialweb, Google, Facebook, Polldaddy to name just a few were there to discuss the idea of breaking down in part or completely the walled gardens that have been created on the web.

Confining users to these walled gardens may well be of great value to the service providers in terms of being able to generate cash from advertisers but in a social media world not being able to communicate, share or collaborate with someone just because they are on a different platform clearly runs contrary to the prevailing desire that people have to reach out to each other. The federated social web exists to reflect that demand for people wishing to break out beyond these ‘silos’ to communicate with each other on the net.

As Evan Prodromou, an organiser of the summit, says in his post “What is the federated social web?”

“…our current social web technologies don’t work like this at all. From the point of view of a typical social web site, if you don’t have an account on that site, you don’t exist. The only way for your friends on that site to interact with you is if they invite you to join the site. Despite the fact that there are hundreds of other social networking sites on the Web, almost every single one works as if there were zero other social networks on the Web.”

The morning of the workshop was concerned with presentations.

Activity streams an initiative from the DiSo Project were a feature the morning’s discussions.

John comments; “[activity streams are] a way of defining what people are doing on a particular website. Someone is reading a book or a bit of source code, or someone is liking a web page. These are all actions and they can be defined and expressed using activity streams. A lot of websites are supporting that now Facebook, Google and so on.”

Activity streams are going to be an important part of any kind of cross-platform interoperability.

But in any worthwhile endeavour there comes a critical stage when the talking has to stop and action must take place. A point in time, once missed, which often results in an opportunity to be lost and gone forever.

That key point came after lunch with the announcement of Social Web Acid Test level One SWATO.

This is the challenge that Evan Prodromou , Tantek Çelik and Dave Recordon announced this challenge to the conference.

They have declared they will do this by the 30th of September this year.

SWATO – Social Web Acid Test level One is a dynamic challenge with a clear objective. The reward is a new metric which uncompromisingly defines your service or process as being a part of the Social Web.

It is rare that a meetup, conference or workshop produces such a clear call to action and it is the lack of a clear next action commitment that results in so many of them being worthy but lifeless, dull affairs.

A John says “We know as technology people that it would be nice for all these things to talk together and exchange information but we have to figure out what the users want. Do they want just two sites to talk together or do they want everything to to talk together? It is topic related or do you want to share personal information?”

With the declaration of SWATO; “You have this end scenario which is based on a real use case which you have to work back and build the technology”

In other words;

“Do – enough talking.”

One thought on “Do – Enough Talking; The Creation of the Social Web Acid Test

  1. Nice explanation Tom – now I get what the Federated Social Web is all about. Great meeting you in Galway today and thanks for the tea.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s