Bill de hÓra has a blog post entitled Format Debt: what you can't say where he writes

The closest thing to a deployable web technology that might improve describing these kind of data mashups without parsing at any cost or patching is RDF. Once RDF is parsed it becomes a well defined graph structure - albeit not a structure most web programmers will be used to, it is however the same structure regardless of the source syntax or the code and the graph structure is closed under all allowed operations.

If we take the example of MediaRSS, which is not consistenly used or placed in syndication and API formats, that class of problem more or less evaporates via RDF. Likewise if we take the current Zoo of contact formats and our seeming inability to commit to one, RDF/OWL can enable a declarative mapping between them. Mapping can reduce the number of man years it takes to define a "standard" format by not having to bother unifying "standards" or getting away with a few thousand less test cases. 

I've always found this particular argument by RDF proponents to be suspect. When I complained about the the lack of standards for representing rich media in Atom feeds, the thrust of the complaint is that you can't just plugin a feed from Picassa into a service that understands how to process feeds from Zooomr without making changes to the service or the input feed.

RDF proponents  often to argue that if we all used RDF based formats then instead of having to change your code to support every new photo site's Atom feed with custom extensions, you could instead create a mapping from the format you don't understand to the one you do using something like the OWL Web Ontology Language.  The problem with this argument is that there is a declarative approach to mapping between XML data formats without having to boil the ocean by convincing everyone to switch to RD; XSL Transformations (XSLT).

The key problem is that in both cases (i.e. mapping with OWL vs. mapping with XSLT) there is still the problem that Picassa feeds won't work with an app that understand's Zoomr's feeds until some developer writes code. Thus we're really debating on whether it is better cheaper to have the developer write declarative mappings like OWL or XSLT instead of writing new parsing code in their language of choice.

In my experience I've seen that creating a software system where you can drop in an XSLT, OWL or other declarative mapping document to deal with new data formats is cheaper and likely to be less error prone than having to alter parsing code written in C#, Python, Ruby or whatever. However we don't need RDF or other Semantic Web technologies to build such solution today. XSLT works just fine as a tool for solving exactly that problem.

Note Now Playing: Lady GaGa & Colby O'Donis - Just Dance Note


Categories: Syndication Technology | XML

It looks like I'll be participating in two panels at the upcoming SXSW Interactive Festival. The descriptions of the panels are below

  1. Feed Me: Bite Size Info for a Hungry Internet

    In our fast-paced, information overload society, users are consuming shorter and more frequent content in the form of blogs, feeds and status messages. This panel will look at the social trends, as well as the technologies that makes feed-based communication possible. Led by Ari Steinberg, an engineering manager at Facebook who focuses on the development of News Feed.

  2. Post Standards: Creating Open Source Specs

    Many of the most interesting new formats on the web are being developed outside the traditional standards process; Microformats, OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, and originally Jabber — four out of five of these popular new specs have been standardized by the IETF, OASIS, or W3C. But real hackers are bringing their implementations to projects ranging from open source apps all the way up to the largest companies in the technology industry. While formal standards bodies still exist, their role is changing as open source communities are able to develop specifications, build working code, and promote it to the world. It isn't that these communities don't see the value in formal standardization, but rather that their needs are different than what formal standards bodies have traditionally offered. They care about ensuring that their technologies are freely implementable and are built and used by a diverse community where anyone can participate based on merit and not dollars. At OSCON last year, the Open Web Foundation was announced to create a new style of organization that helps these communities develop open specifications for the web. This panel brings together community leaders from these technologies to discuss the "why" behind the Open Web Foundation and how they see standards bodies needing to evolve to match lightweight community driven open specifications for the web.

If you'll be at SxSw and are a regular reader of my blog who would like to chat in person, feel free to swing by during one or both panels. I'd also be interested in what people who plan to attend either panel would like to get out of the experience. Let me know in the comments.

Note Now Playing: Estelle - American Boy (feat. Kanye West) Note


Categories: Trip Report

Angus Logan has the scoop

I’m in San Francisco at the 2008 Crunchie Awards and after ~ 350k votes were cast Ray Ozzie and David Treadwell accepted the award for Best Technology Innovation/Achievement on behalf of the Live Mesh team.

DSC_0007The Crunchies are an annual competition co-hosted by GigaOm, VentureBeat, Silicon Alley Insider, and TechCrunch which culminates in an award the most compelling startup, internet and technology innovations.

Kudos to the Live Mesh folks on getting this award. I can't wait to see what 2009 brings for this product.

PS: I noticed from the TechCrunch post that Facebook Connect was the runner up. I have to give an extra special shout out to my friend Mike for being a key figure behind two of the most innovative technology products of 2008. Nice work man.


Categories: Windows Live

Since we released the latest version of the Windows Live what's new feed which shows what's been going on with your social network at, we've gotten repeated asks to provide a Windows Vista gadget so people can keep up with their social circle directly from their desktop.

You asked, and now we've delivered. Get it from here.

What I love most about this gadget is that a huge chunk of the work to get this out the door was done by our summer interns from 2008. I love how interns can be around for a short time but provide a ton of bang for the buck while they are here. Hope you enjoy the gadget as much as I have.

Note Now Playing: Akon, Lil Wayne & Young Jeezy - I'm So Paid Note


Categories: Windows Live

From Palm Pre and Palm WebOS in-depth look we learn

The star of the show was the new Palm WebOS. It's not just a snazzy new touch interface. It's a useful system with some thoughtful ideas that we've been looking for. First of all, the Palm WebOS takes live, while-you-type searching to a new level. On a Windows Mobile phone, typing from the home screen initiates a search of the address book. On the Palm WebOS, typing starts a search of the entire phone, from contacts through applications and more. If the phone can't find what you need, it offers to search Google, Maps and Wikipedia. It's an example of Palm's goal to create a unified, seamless interface.

Other examples of this unified philosophy can be found in the calendar, contacts and e-mail features. The Palm Pre will gather all of your information from your Exchange account, your Gmail account and your Facebook account and display them in a single, unduplicated format. The contact listing for our friend Dave might draw his phone number from our Exchange account, his e-mail address from Gmail and Facebook, and instant messenger from Gtalk. All of these are combined in a single entry, with a status indicator to show if Dave is available for IM chats.

This is the holy grail of contact management experiences on a mobile phone. Today I use Exchange as the master for my contact records and then use tools like OutSync to merge in contact data for my Outlook contacts who are also on Facebook before pushing it all down to my Windows Mobile phone (the AT&T Tilt). Unfortunately this is a manual process and I have to be careful of creating duplicates when importing contacts from different places.

If the Palm Pre can do this automatically in a "live" anmd always connected way without creating duplicate or useless contacts (e.g. Facebook friends with no phone or IM info shouldn't take up space in my phone contact list) then I might have to take this phone for a test drive.

Anyone at CES get a chance to play with the device up close?

Note Now Playing: Hootie & The Blowfish - Only Wanna Be With You Note


Categories: Social Software | Technology

As I've mentioned previously, one of the features we shipped in the most recent release of Windows Live is the ability to import your activities from photo sharing sites like Flickr and PhotoBucket or even blog posts from a regular RSS/Atom feed onto your Windows Live profile. You can see this in action on my Windows Live profile.

One question that has repeatedly come up for our service and others like it, is how users can get a great experience from just importing RSS/Atom feeds of sites that we don't support in a first class way. A couple of weeks ago Dave Winer asked this of FriendFeed in his post FriendFeed and level playing fields where he writes

Consider this screen (click on it to see the detail): Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named ffscrfeen.gif Permalink to this paragraph

Suppose you used a photo site that wasn't one of the ones listed, but you had an RSS feed for your photos and favorites on that site. What are you supposed to do? I always assumed you should just add the feed under "Blog" but then your readers will start asking why your pictures don't do all the neat things that happen automatically with Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug or Zooomr sites. I have such a site, and I don't want them to do anything special for it, I just want to tell FF that it's a photo site and have all the cool special goodies they have for Flickr kick in automatically. Permalink to this paragraph

If you pop up a higher level, you'll see that this is actually contrary to the whole idea of feeds, which were supposed to create a level playing field for the big guys and ordinary people.

We have a similar problem when importing arbitrary RSS/Atom feeds onto a user's profile in Windows Live. For now, we treat each imported RSS feed as a blog entry and assume it has a title and a body that can be used as a summary. This breaks down if you are someone like Kevin Radcliffe who would like to import his Picasa Web albums. At this point we run smack-dab into the fact that there aren't actually consistent standards around how to represent photo albums from photo sharing sites in Atom/RSS feeds.

Let's look at the RSS/Atom feeds from three of the sites that Dave names that aren't natively supported by Windows Live's Web Activities feature.


  <guid isPermaLink='false'>;hl=en_US</guid>
  <pubDate>Wed, 17 Dec 2008 22:45:59 +0000</pubDate>
  <category domain=''></category>
  <description>&lt;table&gt;&lt;tr&gt;&lt;td style="padding: 0 5px"&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;&lt;img style="border:1px solid #5C7FB9" src="" alt="DSC_0479.JPG"/&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/td&gt;&lt;td valign="top"&gt;&lt;font color="#6B6B6B"&gt;Date: &lt;/font&gt;&lt;font color="#333333"&gt;Dec 17, 2008 10:56 AM&lt;/font&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;font color=\"#6B6B6B\"&gt;Number of Comments on Photo:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;font color=\"#333333\"&gt;0&lt;/font&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;&lt;font color="#3964C2"&gt;View Photo&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/td&gt;&lt;/tr&gt;&lt;/table&gt;</description>
  <enclosure type='image/jpeg' url='' length='0'/>
    <media:title type='plain'>DSC_0479.JPG</media:title>
    <media:description type='plain'></media:description>
    <media:content url='' height='1600' width='1074' type='image/jpeg' medium='image'/>
    <media:thumbnail url='' height='72' width='49'/>
    <media:thumbnail url='' height='144' width='97'/>
    <media:thumbnail url='' height='288' width='194'/>


   <title>Verbeast's photo</title>
   <link rel="alternate" type="text/html" href=""/>
   <content type="html">&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;Verbeast&lt;/a&gt; &lt;/p&gt;&lt;a href="" title="Verbeast's photo"&gt;&lt;img src="" width="150" height="150" alt="Verbeast's photo" title="Verbeast's photo" style="border: 1px solid #000000;" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;</content>
   <exif:DateTimeOriginal>2008-12-12 18:37:17</exif:DateTimeOriginal>


        &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;chuchu&lt;/a&gt; posted a photograph:&lt;br /&gt;

        &lt;a href=&quot;; class=&quot;image_link&quot; &gt;&lt;img src=&quot;; alt=&quot;ギンガメアジとジンベイ&quot; title=&quot;ギンガメアジとジンベイ&quot;  /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;br /&gt;

      <pubDate>Mon, 22 Dec 2008 04:14:52 +0000</pubDate>
      <author zooomr:profile=""> (chuchu)</author>
      <guid isPermaLink="false">,2004:/photo/6556014</guid>
      <media:content url="" type="image/jpeg" />
      <media:text type="html">
        &lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;chuchu&lt;/a&gt; posted a photograph:&lt;br /&gt;

        &lt;a href=&quot;; class=&quot;image_link&quot; &gt;&lt;img src=&quot;; alt=&quot;ギンガメアジとジンベイ&quot; title=&quot;ギンガメアジとジンベイ&quot;  /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;br /&gt;

      <media:thumbnail url="" height="75" width="75" />
      <media:credit role="photographer">chuchu</media:credit>
      <media:category scheme="urn:zooomr:tags">海遊館 aquarium kaiyukan osaka japan</media:category>

As you can see from the above XML snippets there is no consistency in how they represent photo streams. Even though both Picasa and Zoomr use Yahoo's Media RSS extensions, they generate different markup. Picasa has the media extensions as a set of elements within a media:group element that is a child of the item element while Zooomr simply places a grab bag of Media RSS elements such including media:thumbnail and media:content as children of the item element.  Smugmug takes the cake by simply tunneling some escaped HTML in the atom:content element instead of using explicit metadata to describe the photos.

The bottom line is that it isn't possible to satisfy Dave Winer's request and create a level playing field today because there are no consistently applied standards for representing photo streams in RSS/Atom. This is unfortunate because it means that services have to write one off code (aka the beautiful fucking snowflake problem) for each photo sharing site they want to integrate with. Not only is this a lot of unnecessary code, it also prevents such integration from being a simple plug and play experience for users of social aggregation services.

So far, the closest thing to a standard in this space is Media RSS but as the name states it is an RSS based format and really doesn't fit with the Atom syndication format's data model. This is why Martin Atkins has started working on Atom Media Extensions which is an effort to create a similar set of media extensions for the Atom syndication format.

What I like about the first draft of Atom media extensions is that it is focused on the basic case of syndicating audio, video and image for use in activity streams and doesn't have some of the search related and feed republishing baggage you see in related formats like Media RSS or iTunes RSS extensions.

The interesting question is how to get the photo sites out there to adopt consistent standards in this space? Maybe we can get Google to add it to their Open Stack™ since they've been pretty good at getting social sites to adopt their standards and have been generally good at evangelization.

Note Now Playing: DMX - Ruff Ryders' Anthem Note


One of the features we recently shipped in Windows Live is the ability to link your Windows Live profile to your Flickr account so that whenever you add photos to Flickr they show up on your profile and in the What's New list of members of your network in Windows Live. Below are the steps to adding your Flickr photos to your Windows Live profile.

1. Go to your Windows Live profile at and locate the link to your Web Activities on the bottom left

2. Click the link to add Web Activities which should take you to shown below. Locate Flickr on that page.

3.) Click on the "Add" link for Flickr which should take you to shown below

4.) Click on the link to sign-in to Flickr. This should take you to the Flickr sign-in page shown below (if you aren't signed in)


5.) After signing in, you will need to grant Windows Live access to your Flickr photo stream. Click the "OK I'll Allow It" button shown below

6.) You should then be redirected to Windows Live where you can complete the final step and link both accounts. In addition, you can decide who should able to view your Flickr photos on your Windows Live profile as shown below


7.) After pushing the "Add" button you should end up back on your profile with your Flickr information now visible on it.

A.) People in your network can now see your Flickr updates in various Windows Live applications including Windows Live Messenger as shown below


PS: The same basic set of steps work for adding activities from Twitter, Pandora, StumbleUpon, Flixster, PhotoBucket, Yelp, iLike, blogs hosted on, or from any RSS/Atom feed to your Windows Live profile. Based on announcements at CES yesterday, you'll soon be able to add your activities from Facebook to Windows Live as well.

Note Now Playing: DMX - Party Up (Up in Here) Note


Categories: Windows Live

In my recent post on building a Twitter search engine on Windows Azure I questioned the need the expose the notion of both partition and row keys to developers on the platforms. Since then I've had conversations with a couple of folks at work that indicate that I should have stated my concerns more explicitly. So here goes.

The documentation on Understanding the Windows Azure Table Storage Data Model states the following

PartitionKey Property

Tables are partitioned to support load balancing across storage nodes. A table's entities are organized by partition. A partition is a consecutive range of entities possessing the same partition key value. The partition key is a unique identifier for the partition within a given table, specified by the PartitionKey property. The partition key forms the first part of an entity's primary key. The partition key may be a string value up to 32 KB in size.

You must include the PartitionKey property in every insert, update, and delete operation.

RowKey Property

The second part of the primary key is the row key, specified by the RowKey property. The row key is a unique identifier for an entity within a given partition. Together the PartitionKey and RowKey uniquely identify every entity within a table.

The row key is a string value that may be up to 32 KB in size.

You must include the RowKey property in every insert, update, and delete operation.

In my case I'm building an application to represent users in a social network and each user is keyed by user ID (e.g. their Twitter user name). In my application I only have one unique key and it identifies each row of user data (e.g. profile pic, location, latest tweet, follower count, etc). My original intuition was to use the unique ID as the row key while letting the partition key be a single value. The purpose of the partition key is that it is a hint to say this data belongs on the same machine which in my case seems like overkill.

Where this design breaks down is when I actually end up storing more data than the Windows Azure system can or wants to fit on a single storage node. For example, what if I've actually built a Facebook crawler (140 million users) and I cache people's profile pics locally (10kilobytes). This ends up being 1.3 terabytes of data. I highly doubt that the Azure system will be allocating 1.3 terabytes of storage on a single server for a single developer and even if it did the transaction performance would suffer. So the only reasonable assumption is that the data will either be split across various nodes at some threshold [which the developer doesn't know] or at some point the developer gets a "disk full error" (i.e. a bad choice which no platform would make).

On the other hand, if I decide to use the user ID as the partition key then I am in essence allowing the system to theoretically store each user on a different machine or at least split up my data across the entire cloud. That sucks for me if all I have is three million users for which I'm only storing 1K of data so it could fit on a single storage node. Of course, the Windows Azure system could be smart enough to not split up my data since it fits underneath some threshold [which the developer doesn't know]. And this approach also allows the system to take advantage of parallelism across multiple machines if it does split my data.

Thus I'm now leaning towards the user ID being the partition key instead of the row key. So what advice do the system's creators actually have for developers?

Well from the discussion thread POST to Azure tables w/o PartitionKey/RowKey: that's a bug, right? on the MSDN forums there is the following advice from Niranjan Nilakantan of Microsoft

If the key for your logical data model has more than 1 property, you should default to (multiple partitions, multiple rows for each partition).

If the key for your logical data model has only one property, you would default to (multiple partitions, one row per partition).

We have two columns in the key to separate what defines uniqueness(PartitionKey and RowKey) from what defines scalability(just PartitionKey).
In general, write and query times are less affected by how the table is partitioned.  It is affected more by whether you specify the PartitionKey and/or RowKey in the query.

So that answers the question and validates the conclusions we eventually arrived at. It seems we should always use the partition key as the primary key and may optionally want to use a row key as a secondary key, if needed.

In that case, the fact that items with different partition keys may or may not be stored on the same machine seems to be an implementation detail that shouldn't matter to developers since there is nothing they can do about it anyway. Right?

Note Now Playing: Scarface - Hand of the Dead Body Note


Categories: Web Development

I've been spending some time thinking about the ramifications of centralized identity plays coming back into vogue with the release of Facebook Connect, MySpaceID and Google's weird amalgam Google Friend Connect. Slowly I began to draw parallels between the current situation and a different online technology battle from half a decade ago.

About five years ago, one of the most contentious issues among Web geeks was the RSS versus Atom debate. On the one hand there was RSS 2.0, a widely deployed and fairly straightforward XML syndication format which had some ambiguity around the spec but whose benevolent dictator had declared the spec frozen to stabilize the ecosystem around the technology.  On the other hand you had the Atom syndication format, an up and coming XML syndication format backed by a big company (Google) and a number of big names in the Web standards world (Tim Bray, Sam Ruby, Mark Pilgrim, etc) which intended to do XML syndication the right way and address some of the flaws of RSS 2.0.

During that time I was an RSS 2.0 backer even though I spent enough time on the atom-syntax mailing list to be named as a contributor on the final RFC. My reasons for supporting RSS 2.0 are captured in my five year old blog post The ATOM API vs. the ATOM Syndication Format which contained the following excerpt

Based on my experiences working with syndication software as a hobbyist developer for the past year is that the ATOM syndication format does not offer much (if anything) over RSS 2.0 but that the ATOM API looks to be a significant step forward compared to previous attempts at weblog editing/management APIs especially with regard to extensibility, support for modern practices around service oriented architecture, and security.
Regardless of what ends up happening, the ATOM API is best poised to be the future of weblog editting APIs. The ATOM syndication format on the other hand...

My perspective was that the Atom syndication format was a burden on consumers of feeds since it meant they had to add yet another XML syndication format to the list of formats they supported; RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 and now Atom. However the Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub) was clearly an improvement to the state of the art at the time and was a welcome addition to the blog software ecosystem. It would have been the best of both worlds if AtomPub simply used RSS 2.0 so we got the benefits with none of the pain of duplicate syndication formats.

As time has passed, it looks like I was both right and wrong about how things would turn out. The Atom Publishing Protocol has been more successful than I could have ever imagined. It not only became a key blog editing API but evolved to become a key technology for accessing data from cloud based sources that has been embraced by big software companies like Google (GData) and Microsoft (ADO.NET Data Services, Live Framework, etc). This is where I was right.

I was wrong about how much of a burden having XML syndication formats would be on developers and end users. Although it is unfortunate that every consumer of XML feed formats has to write code to process both RSS and Atom feeds, this has not been a big deal. For one, this code has quickly been abstracted out into libraries on the majority of popular platforms so only a few developers have had to deal with it. Similarly end users also haven't had to deal with this fragmentation that much. At first some sites did put out feeds in multiple formats which just ended up confusing users but that is mostly a thing of the past. Today most end users interacting with feeds have no reason to know about the distinction between Atom or RSS since for the most part there is none when you are consuming the feed from Google Reader, RSS Bandit or your favorite RSS reader.

I was reminded by this turn of events when reading John McCrea's post As Online Identity War Breaks Out, JanRain Becomes “Switzerland” where he wrote

Until now, JanRain has been a pureplay OpenID solution provider, hoping to build a business just on OpenID, the promising open standard for single sign-on. But the company has now added Facebook as a proprietary login choice amidst the various OpenID options on RPX, a move that shifts them into a more neutral stance, straddling the Facebook and “Open Stack” camps. In my view, that puts JanRain in the interesting and enviable position of being the “Switzerland” of the emerging online identity wars.

Weezer Two

For site operators, RPX offers an economical way to integrate the non-core function of “login via third-party identity providers” at a time when the choices in that space are growing and evolving rapidly. So, rather than direct its own technical resources to integrating Facebook Connect and the various OpenID implementations from MySpace, Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, along with plain vanilla OpenID, a site operator can simply outsource all of those headaches to JanRain.

Just as standard libraries like the Universal Feed Parser and the Windows RSS platform insulated developers from the RSS vs. Atom formatwar, JanRain's RPX makes it so that individual developers don't have to worry about the differences between supporting proprietary technologies like Facebook Connect or Open Stack™ technologies like OpenID.

At the end of the day, it is quite likely that the underlying technologies will not matter to matter to anyone but a handful of Web standards geeks and library developers. Instead what is important is for sites to participate in the growing identity provider ecosystem not what technology they use to do so.

Note Now Playing: Yung Wun featuring DMX, Lil' Flip & David Banner - Tear It Up Note


Categories: Web Development

Last month James Governor of Redmonk had a blog post entitled Asymmetrical Follow: A Core Web 2.0 Pattern where he made the following claim

You’re sitting at the back of the room in a large auditorium. There is a guy up front, and he is having a conversation with the people in the front few rows. You can’t hear them quite so well, although it seems like you can tune into them if you listen carefully. But his voice is loud, clear and resonant. You have something to add to the conversation, and almost as soon as you think of it he looks right at you, and says thanks for the contribution… great idea. Then repeats it to the rest of the group.

That is Asymmetrical Follow.

When Twitter was first built it was intended for small groups of friends to communicate about going to the movies or the pub. It was never designed to cope with crazy popular people like Kevin Rose (@kevinrose 76,185 followers), Jason Calacanis (@jasoncalacanis 42,491), and Scobleizer (@scobleizer 41,916). Oh yeah, and some dude called BarackObama (@barackobama 141,862)

If you’re building a social network platform its critical that you consider the technical and social implications of Asymmetrical Follow. You may not expect it, but its part of the physics of social networks. Shirky wrote the book on this. Don’t expect a Gaussian distribution.

Asymmetric Follow is a core pattern for Web 2.0, in which a social network user can have many people following them without a need for reciprocity.

James Governor mixes up two things in his post which at first made it difficult to agree with its premise. The first thing he talks about is the specifics of the notion of a follower on Twitter where he focuses on the fact that someone may not follow you but you can follow them and get their attention by sending them an @reply which is then rebroadcast to their audience when they reply to your tweet. This particular feature is not a core design pattern of social networking sites (or Web 2.0 or whatever you want to call it).

The second point is that social networks have to deal with the nature of popularity in social circles as aptly described in Clay Shirky's essay Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality from 2003. In every social ecosystem, there will be people who are orders of magnitude more popular than others. Mike Arrington's blog is hundreds of times more popular than mine. My blog is hundreds of times more popular than my wife's. The adequately reflect this reality of social ecosystems, social networking software should scale up to being usable both by the super-popular and the long tail of unpopular users. Different social applications support this in different ways. Twitter supports this by making the act of showing interest in another user a one way relationship that doesn't have to reciprocated (i.e. a follower) and then not capping the amount of followers a user can have. Facebook supports this by creating special accounts for super-popular users called Facebook Pages which also have a one way relationship between the popular entity and its fans. Like Twitter, there is no cap on the number of fans a "Facebook Page" can have. Facebook differs from Twitter forcing super-popular users to have a different representation from regular users.

In general, I agree that being able to support the notion of super-popular users who have lots of fellow users who are their "fans" or "followers" is a key feature that every social software application should support natively. Applications that don't do this are artificially limiting their audience and penalizing their popular users.

Does that make it a core pattern for "Web 2.0"? I guess so.

Note Now Playing: David Banner - Play Note


Categories: Social Software