W3C Workshop on the Future of Social Networking

I set out to read all the 72 papers for this workshop, as I think it should be very interesting (if a little chaotic perhaps if 100s of people come), though I can’t attend. It’s possible others might find the tiny reviews of the papers below useful so I thought I might as well post them here (I’m up to number 42; it’s taking longer than I thought!). Please don’t be offended if I seem dismissive of your paper – inevitably the reviews reflect my interests and preferences, and with 72 papers to get through, I’ve not been able to spend a huge amount of time on each one. So far, I liked 8, 12, 22, 25, 28, 29, 35, 36, 38 particularly, and all the mobile phone companies papers are worth a read to see what their ideas are in this area. I’ll pull out some themes along with the remaining reviews later today.

Update: part 2 is here.

Sorry the post is so huge…

1. The mobile smoking room (pdf) HIQ, Vibeke Wara

Interesting idea (build something that enables informal communication across a company and engages people in shaping their corporate environment as much as a smoking room) but very general – no explicit proposal.

2. Climbing towards trust and privacy management in social mobile communities (pdf) Alberto Crespo, Rubén Méndez (ATOS ORIGIN) and Katja Liesebach (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)

Much of the paper seems to be from an EU project proposal; ATOS origin’s section is more interesting and a list of suggested topics for the workshop is good to have (I wonder if in future it would help if this was required of all papers?)

3. The Future of Social Networking Michael Chisari, Appleseed Project

Sole developer talking about his experiences creating distributed social networks and the implications for privacy and trust – worth a skim, and points for using html.

4. The Future of The Appleseed Platform Michael Chisari, Appleseed Project

Describes a distributed social networking project, designed to be a pltform for distributed social networking, including multiple identities, multi-lingual support. Some would question some of his technology choices (IM2000) and modelling choices (are several identities necessary?). Not clear to me how this differs from say, Ning, except in being open source.

5. Social TV: A new wave of Social Networking for Television (pdf) Soohong Daniel Park, Samsung Electronics

Brief paper about (IP)TV and social networking (chatting, presence etc). All rather familiar to me because of Joost. Would like social TV issues to be considered by any W3C XG.

6. Security issues in the future of social networking (pdf) Giles Hogben, ENISA

More weighty summary of some of the issues with social networks pertaining to online identity management, coming mostly from a workshop held by ENISA: “a Centre of Expertise for the EU Member States and EU Institutions in Network and Information Security, giving expert advice and recommendations”. Suggests techniques for maintaining social reputation using PGP keys

7. Information analysis in mobile social networks for added-value services (pdf) Christos Zigkolis, Informatics and Telematics Institute (Greece), Yiannis Kompatsiaris, Informatics and Telematics Institute (Greece), Athena Vakali, Department of Informatics, Aristotle University (Greece)

Part of an EU project; arguing that automated extraction of social network data can be beneficial in the mobile area. Some of their logic is not terribly convincing in parts, though I suppose they may well be right nevertheless.

8. Position Paper from Telefonica (pdf)David Sainz González, Maria Cristina, Fernández Grande, Jordi Rovira Simón, Telefonica

Creating contexts using data from mobile devices and their sensors; generate social graphs using data, weighted by, say, location; data mining and profiling for more presonalised applications, recommendations. Considerations of UI, semi-automation and security. Interesting.

9. Position Paper from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (DIT) (pdf) Joaquín Salvachúa, Antonio Tapiador, Antonio Fumero, Javier Cerviño, Juan Quemada, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (DIT)

Interesting idea – weakly-linked, temporary organisations for doing specific projects, and all that entails for security. OAuth and OpenID namechecked, slightly odd ‘we thought of it first’ attitude about the various social APIs that are around

10. The social network behind telecom networks (pdf) Luis Ángel Galindo (Telefónica Spain), David Moro (Telefónica R&D), David Lozano (Telefónica R&D),

Similar to paper 8, unsurprisingly, given it’s the same company. Idea to generate a social network site from phone contacts, so no joining the network costs; syncing phone contacts with the social site; automatic provision of lifestreaming. They have an initiative – wims20.org. Slightly sinister because of the implication that they can use the carrier infrastructure to gather private data. No discussion of security or privacy implications.

11. Open architecture for multilingual social networking (pdf) M.T. Carrasco Benitez.

A brief discussion of desired features and architecture of multilingual and localised websites, specifically UI features, backend services, mention of the possibility of translation services to connect users on social networking sites. Explicitly not the opinion of the contributor’s employer, the EC. http://multilingualwebsites.org

12. Online Presence in Social Networks (pdf) Milan Stankovic (Université Paris-Sud XI, Orsay, France), Jelena Jovanovic (University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia)

Describes the reasoning behind the the Online Presence Ontolology (OPO), that gives structure to statements about presence (using foaf, sioc, geo etc), and the possibility of using this information to govern kinds of interaction with the user, when gathered from multiple sites. http://www.milanstankovic.org/opo/. Interesting idea – I wonder how they would create the structured data.

13. Africa: A mobile frontier (pdf) Gloria Ruhrmund

States that mobile social networks may be a very good fit for Africa, possibly commercial, also NGOs, governments; vague about exactly how; notes that MSN South Africa is popular, and that airtime is now an informal currency in parts of Africa.

14. Position Paper from German National Library (pdf) Panagiotis Kitmeridis, Anne Löhden, Dr. Lars Svensson, German National Library

Discussion of plans to add user generated content (selection, quality rating, characterisation of resources) to libraries, and indicating that social networks (groups with different access levels) might improve the trustworthiness and accuracy of UGC in this context.

15. Position Paper from University of Reading Shirley Williams, Pat Parslow, Karsten Oster Lundqvist, University of Reading

A new technology requires adaptation and people don’t always realise the consequences of their digital identity (how they appear online to others), particularly if they have multiple identities in different social networks. “There is also anecdotal evidence of users increasingly using disparate systems to facilitate communication with different groups of peers, either through explicit choices being made or because they have to subscribe to the services already in use by their friends and colleagues.” learning / education perspective. And in html :-)

16. XDI Trust Information – A Trustability Protocol for Validating Distributed Information (pdf) Elizabeth Cano, Gregoire Burel, University of Sheffield, UK

Describes the use of two oasis-homed TLAs to validate information about a person by them establishing a ‘contract’ with someone who can validate the information, using as special type of link. If no contracts is present, XTI can allow you to access other documents from the site, and look at those recursively looking for validation. “XRIs (Extensible Resource Identifiers) address a longstanding problem on the Internet: how to have a persistent, portable, privacy-protected identifier for any resource, from a person to a company to an application to a concept. XDI (XRI Data Interchange) uses XRIs to securely and privately share, link, and synchronize data between any two devices, domains, or applications – and maintain this link for as long as the two parties want to keep a data sharing relationship.” (from http://www.xdi.org/faq.html).

17. Leveraging Web 2.0 Communities in Professional Organisations (pdf) A. Scherp (University of Koblenz), F. Schwagereit (University of Koblenz), N. Ireson (University of Sheffield), V. Lanfranchi (University of Sheffield), S. Papadopoulos (Informatics and Telematics Institute, Greece), A. Kritikos (Informatics and Telematics Institute, Greece), Y. Kompatsiaris (Informatics and Telematics Institute, Greece), P. Smrz (Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic)

A discussion of the contrasts between tradition organisational structures and web 2.0 ones and specific discussion of the potential to use user generated content in the emergency services for disasters. Suggests that process-mining of virtual organsations can be used to generate workflow models that might bridge this gap.

18. Tangibility in social networks – Easing interactions with social networks in mobility using proximity sensor technologies (pdf) Antoine Fressancourt, Colombe Hérault, Eric Ptak, Atos Worldline R&D

Describes an aplication that uses NFC (Near Field Communication, an extension of RFID for mobile devices) that allows the user to voluntarily state his location and then distributes the location information via a centralised server to various social networks, having been run through user-defined privacy rules first. Incentives include getting contextually-appropriate apps to mobile devices. Potentially interesting ideas.

19. Leveraging Social data with Semantics Guillaume Erétéo (Orange Labs), Michel Buffa (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Kewi Team, CNRS/I3S), Fabien Gandon (INRIA), Mylène Leitzelman (Telecom ParisTech), Freddy Limpens (INRIA)

(More) semantics can be added to social networks by looking at social interactions in those networks (mostly path computations) and then adding this new data to the description of the network using ontologies. This is done using sparql extensions. Connecting the content in these networks (folksonomies) to ‘common references’ like dbpedia, or other taxonomies helps create “shared knowledge graphs”. Combined, this can make sense of the mass of data generated by social wetworks.

20. Instant Feeds for Social Networks (pdf) Gustavo García, Telefonica I+D

Makes a technical point about the efficiency of presence networks and the requirement to be instantly informed when data changes, and the high load this places on servers. Suggests using the combination of openid attributes or XRDS for discovery; oauth for authorisation; and atompub or SIP or XMPP for distribution.

21. Privacy and Social Network Sites: Follow the Money! (pdf) Martin Pekárek, Ronald Leenes, Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (TILT)

Analysis of the types of harm caused by attacks on privacy in social networks, as well as the types of attackers, including harm from the networks themselves selling user profile data. Concludes that the benefits to users of using social networks are high albeit short term and so they are unlikely to stop; suggests best thing might be to discourage the profit motive of companies who can currently do more or less what they like with user profile data. Suggests a p2p system might work.

22. Position Paper from Vodafone Julian Pye, Wolfgang Schuster, Vodafone

Useful list of their interests in the second paragraph. The body of the paper is about differences in the ways people use social networks on mobile devices compared to stationary ones. Using different states of the user (or times of the day, family time, leisure, work time) suggest different modes of social interaction (lean-forward, lean back, on-the-go contexts) and so different modes of the device (e.g. business contacts first). Lots of interesting ideas, and html to boot.

23. Position Paper from Peperoni (pdf) Marcus Ladwig, Peperoni

Large mobile portal suggests that there’s a large potential untapped market for mobile social networking, presently untapped because of the various issues with mobile data access, including scepticism of network operators (p8); suggests the need for industry standards, policies and APIs (p10); and including sharing networks’ user profiling data with advertisers (opt-in)

24. Legal Problems of the social networks (pdf) Pablo Álvarez de Linera Granda, Nelly Sánchez Mouriz, Sofía Cuervas-Mons Ruiloba, J&A GARRIGUES

Legal / privacy issues arising from the use of social networks plus advice on what users and providers should do (respect countries’ privacy laws, allow the deletion of all data created by the user, think before you post, especially if it has to do with children; do not allow spidering of profile data). Declares that international coordination is required; refers to a couple of recent meetings in europe on the topic.

25. Tapping the Mobile Digital Tapestry: Can mobile 2.0 companies make money without being greedy for personal data (pdf) Daniele Quercia, University College London

Interesting paper about sharing data and other items of interest such as music very locally, for example on a wifi access point or using bluetooth, and suggesting that using such a model could open up a non-privacy invading way of making money – by using location-based ads.

26. Identity Management in Social Networks (pdf) Miguel-Angel Monjas, David Suárez, Ericsson España

List of interests page 2-3. Top interests include: use of SIMs as identification mechanisms; tools for handling and tracking one’s own data, knowing how it is used; inferring social networks from behaviour using machine learning; federated identity systems; brokers for authentication, geo.

27. The Social Web: Small Businesses / Big Solutions (pdf) Timothée P. Anglade, Ori Pekelman, Louis Montagne, AF83

Talks about various issues of interest to SME and social networks, specifically the problem that buisness models are currently only about growing the size of the network; suggests some alternative business models, including micropayments for goods or services; emphasising the importance of business models that rely on a common interest for the sites and their users.

28. Trends in mobile social networking for mainstream consumers and supporting technologies required (pdf) Lisa McKnight (Nokia), Lubna Dajani (Stratemerge),

The issues they would like W3C to focus on are in the first section and are mostly about interoperability between social networks; also addressbook interop. They are most interested in non-early adopters, as the market grows. The paper is based on interviews with users. Also worries about the privacy of disclosing geo location. Definitely worth a look this one, though I don’t see the sample size mentioned anywhere.

29. Privacy-Preserving Friendship Relations for Mobile Social Networking (pdf) Sören Preibusch, Alastair R. Beresford, University of Cambridge, UK

Argues that the existance of public friendship links are privacy-intruding because of socio-economic interests that can be inferred; even if the user is able to keen them private, the friends may not. The paper desribes a technique for hashing private relationships using foaf, in a P2P network. Interesting stuff, not sure how you’d make it usable.

30. HelloWorld: An Open Source, Distributed and Secure Social Network (pdf) Markus Ackermann, Krister Hymon, Benjamin Ludwig, Kai Wilhelm, University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern, Germany

Long paper describing an open, decentralised social network using pgp keys to encrypt personal information, using downloadable software, and using Freenet, with a centralised ‘phonebook’ and importating contacts using hcard. A prototype is available.

31. Accessible social networking in practice, the GDF-SUEZ experience in France (pdf) Ruddy RACON (GDF SUEZ), Pierre GUILLOU (AccessiWeb).

A large company argues that accessibility can and should be addressed in web 2.0 sites, and has made a social networking site to show that the functionality can be implemented in an accesssible way.

32. The Interoperability of Lightweight Semantics for Social Networks (pdf) Matthew Rowe, University of Sheffield, UK

Describes microformats and RDFA compared with RDF. Argues that interoprability is needed between xfn and foaf; argues that digital identity is important; describing a digital identity card per citizen, including a weighted social network. On joining a new social network, the network could request access to it. OpenID and Oauth. Reputation building over sites. Suggests lightweight semantics could be used to connect people.

33. Social networking across devices: opportunity and risk for the disabled and older community (pdf) Henny Swan, Opera

Argues for the need for accessibility in social networking sites.

34. The Future of Social Networking: Let everyone in, and remember they’re all on the move (pdf) Miquel Martin, NEC Network Laboratories, Heidelberg

Argues for standardised apis for contextual information from device sensors, e.g. geo info, cross platform. Ideas for discussion on page 4.

35. Sentient Computing meets Social Networking (pdf) Simon Hay, Joseph Newman, Andrew Rice, University of Cambridge

Using sensors to infer context “x has just left his desk” – belief that it is now mature enough to be used in social networking. Privacy and interfaces are important. Describes some interesting projects in this area.

36. Decentralization: The Future of Online Social Networking (pdf)Ching-man Au Yeung (University of Southampton), Ilaria Liccardi (University of Southampton), Kanghao Lu (CSAIL, MIT), Oshani Seneviratne (CSAIL, MIT), Tim Berners-Lee (CSAIL, MIT)

Paper describing various semantic web and linked data tools that could be used for distributed social networks: foaf, openID, webdav, SPARUL (Sparql update), tabulator, foaf+ssl; describes how it would address issues such as privacy, data silos, data ownership.

37. Using Standards to Normalize Domain Specific Metadata (pdf) Andrew Mello, Lisa Rein

Automatically enhancing and normalising data streams using semantics (e.g. using RDFA) can enhance the user experience (not clear to me how! maybe I’m just tired though). Describes a marketing application that generates short term social networks by getting users to play games and otherwise interact with a brand to check how a specific marketing campain is going.

38. OpenMicroBlogging Evan Prodromou, Founder of Wikitravel and Identi.ca

Push messages to different services using oAuth and open microblogging protocol (http post messages). Also service discovery using oauth discovery. federated model. Interesting analogy with email and previous data silos.

39. Capturing, Using, and Storing Users’ Locations (pdf) Dan Melinger, Socialight

List of specific questions for discussion on p2-3, mostly about privacy and usability (and understandability) aspects of capturing, sharing and using the user’s location information.

40. Industry Challenges for Social and Professional Networks (pdf) Renato Iannella, National ICT Australia (NICTA)

Describes some issues with social networks (lockin, spamming, privacy issues, confusing UIs, not suitable for mobile). Looking for a ‘social networks interop roadmap’ XG for requirements gathering for social networks interop (standards for data portability, policy expression, network migration).

41. Social Networks – Challenges of Ubiquitous Web Access (pdf) Vadym Kramar, Markku Korhonen, Jori Karppinen, Pehr Brahe Software Laboratory (PBOL)

Describes some usecases around the application of mobile technology and the web: context awareness, device cself-configuration and browser experience. Argues that there are already W3C standards in all 3 areas, but more guidance is needed on how to implement them.

42. World Peace Using Social Networks Will Holcomb

A planned project describing a way of creating trustable digital identifiers with xml signatures, unique identifiers and trusted signers.