This started out as a brief comment on about my article
, but Clay is too insightful, so my response got too long, so...
I say with a whopping 0.15 confidence that a FOAF file is more likely to be useful as a way of mapping who knows whom than as a source of info about why
people are choosing to form those relationships. So, a FOAF spider may be able to tell that I count Clay as a friend (lucky me!) but FOAF files themselves probably won't be much help in figuring out why we're friends. Dan Brickley
(half a FOAF ... Libby Miller
being the other half) has told me (i.e., I'm about to mischaracterize something he says) that he'd rather have an application figure out from his site that Libby is his best friend than rely on an explicit declaration of friendship. (Also, the example Clay gives - "Mr. Shirky is a Pisces and likes Chinese noodles" - I think is more likely to show up in an ASN profile than in a FOAF file.)
And, yes, semi-permeability (another lovely term from Clay), with its promise of semi-privacy, is more conducive to the frankness and selective disclosure that gives rise to rich 'n' thick human relationships. But: Walled gardens aren't the only way to provide privacy. Friendster (et al.) draws the wall around the personal information and
the relationship data. It wants to own my new friendships. It's as if a real world dating service not only matched you up, but also insisted that you date at its restaurant, send mail through its private service, and have sex at its motel. ASN's are like relationship theme parks.
I certainly agree with Clay about the mix of centralilzation and decentralization. But I don't understand how Clay sees that mapping to ASN's. IMO, ASN's such as Friendster and Wallop are more like music aggregation sites than directory services like Napster. Except we are the music.
Finally, and least of all, Clay is not the first person to mischaracterize the thrust of my article, empirical evidence that it's badly written. Just to clarify:The article is about why I don't trust my own negative reaction to ASN's. The initial set of reasons I give for not liking ASN's are reasons that I'd stand by. But they don't get at my gut reaction, the reason that gets me to look for better reasons. Unfortunately, my gut reason is nothing to be proud of: I'm an old fogey on the Net.