Federated Social Web Summit

I’m in Portland today and taking part in the Federated Social Web Summit, before attending OSCON for the next week. Today is so far packed with lighting presentations from all sorts of companies, projects and protocols in the space to bring us all up to speed. After lunch we’re going to all be discussing and looking at how we can put together all the building blocks and bring to life this concept of a federated social web. Here are my (long) notes on all the projects etc from the morning:

Apologies to any names I’ve misspelled, product names I’ve left out, etc.


Web Service Authentication APIs

For a project I’m working on, I’ve been looking at a lot of web service authentication/verification APIs lately. I thought folks might be interested in the results. Here are the methods available for a variety of web services/applications online, with links to their appropriate docs:


On Social Customer Support

Through my work with Automattic, I’ve had the privilege of working with the guys over at Intense Debate. I’ve been helping them improve their WordPress plugin and get it ready for some new features. Along the way I made the blunder of releasing a version that had a pretty serious bug in it, and that triggered a lot of customer support issues/cases.

In the “old days” (or in a lot of big corporates today), those support cases would have been handled behind a corporate “veil of secrecy”, tucked in a back end system somewhere, responded to by anonymous “Customer Service Representatives” via a generic email account like “support@intensedebate.com”. While we’re also making use of a generic email address, the similarities between our approach and that of big corporates ends there. End to end, the differences are pretty stark.

Keep Reading about Social Customer Support

Twitter vs Facebook Status

In the past few weeks I’ve been asked by at least 3 different people why they should use this new “Twitter” thing they’ve heard about, rather than just updating their status on Facebook. I think it’s a pretty valid question, so I thought I’d put together some of the reasons why I use Twitter, rather than Facebook’s Status update.

  1. It’s Open: I’m a fan of the idea of “open” (as in open source, portable data, etc etc). Facebook is not. Twitter is. Putting my status updates through Twitter means that I can do fun things like load them into my sidebar (on the right of my blog) easily (via an RSS feed). If I updated in Facebook, those updates become useless because I can’t get them back out.
  2. Client Apps: I don’t want to have to go to the Facebook site all the time to update my status. I can run a Twitter client (currently DestroyTwitter or TweetDeck) on my computer and update my status in a couple of key-presses. I also have options (there’s that “open” thing coming in handy again) as far as clients go, so I can pick and choose something that I like.
  3. Be Part of Something Bigger: Facebook is great and all, but it’s owned and controlled by Facebook. It’s a world unto itself with an established set of protocols and expectations. Twitter is something new. It’s a new type of “web” as we know it. It’s “live” in a way that not much else is yet. I’d like to be a part of that, so that I can see what’s really going on, which brings me to…
  4. Search: Twitter’s search system is a whole new ball-game. It allows you to see what’s going on and what people are thinking/doing/asking now.
  5. Community: Twitter’s omni-directional “follow” system means that the community/network is fundamentally to Facebook’s bi-directional system. I don’t “allow” people to follow me. If they want to, they do. If they don’t, they don’t. I can reach a whole different group of people on Twitter that I am not connected to on Facebook.
  6. Laziness: Last but not least, I have a Facebook app installed that loads my Twitter status into FB anyway, saving me the hassle of updating both 🙂

So why do you use Twitter (or Facebook Status)? Chime in on the comments and I’ll add any good ones to the list!