Day 1: Graphing Social Patterns

I’m sitting here at the Hyatt in Crystal City, Virginia. Planes fly in low overhead to touchdown on the runway at Reagan National Airport a mile away. It is hot, muggy and trains are derailing not far from here. Generally, it’s the kind of day that sets folks on edge.

I’m at the Graphing Social Patterns East conference, put on my O’Reilly Media. Full disclaimer: I’m not a fan of Tim O’Reilly. However, this conference is shaping up to be an interesting one as developers and businesses tackle the social landscape. Specifically, the social landscape as it pertains to applications.

Today has been tutorial day, as developers have been introduced (or reintroduced) to developing Facebook and MySpace applications. Meh meh meh. More zombies. The highlight (for me with my twisted mind) being when the speaker referred to a friend building a Masterbeat.com which resulted in an awkward, yet funny, pause. It’s music, people! It’s not what you think!

Regardless, today has been nowhere near as internet-shattering as Steve Jobs’ Keynote. Maybe tomorrow.

Live Coverage of Graphing Social Patterns East

Picture 1.pngStarting tomorrow through Wednesday, Technosailor.com will be bringing you coverage of the Graphing Social Patterns East conference here in Washington, D.C. We were a last minute applicant for media credentials, but squeaked in by the skin of our teeth. Thanks, Dave McClure and Maureen Jennings for making that happen!

GSP is an interesting conference to be had here in Washington, but it goes to the nature of a very rich (and somewhat untapped) community of social app developers here in the area. Refresh DC is one of the largest of the Refresh Movement cities, but because of the disjointed nature of the different DC communities, a lot of us in the “social media” community don’t necessarily see those in the developer community.

But cool things are happening. Social Times is doing a good job covering a lot of it.

So, I’ll be at GSP bringing live coverage. It’s looking to be a massive event and though I’d rather be at WWDC, GSP is a great alternative. For those of you who plan to be there, look me up. I’m @technosailor on Twitter.

I Own My Data, Dammit

Micah had a very encouraging article last night about two commenting social networks, Disqus and Intense Debate. It was all about listening to your customer base and making trajectory adjustments as needed to ensure you’re meeting real needs, instead of just assuming your business model has everything mapped out for you and you know exactly how to execute on your vision.

The discussion over Disqus and Intense Debate has been an interesting one. Particularly perceptive readers may have noticed me playing around with both of these services a few weeks ago in the wee hours of the morning. If you didn’t notice, never fear… it was only for a minute before switching back to my default WordPress comments.

So here’s the thing. I met Intense Debate, and perhaps Disqus, at Blog World Expo. At the same time, I met SezWho, a competitor. Each of these services offer a “social network” around commenting. But what set them apart was in who owned the data.

I use the word “own” loosely here. What I mean is, “Where is the comment data being hosted?”

There’s legitimate reasons for this. One example of why it is important for me to own the data is in the case of a legal issue or subpoena. Very relevant concern. At b5, there were several times where the Police called us asking for data about some random person on some random blog who was a person of interest in some random crime. In all cases, we could not give up data without a subpoena. When provided, we cooperated. When we were not served, we didn’t relinquish data.

This is pretty common and the bigger a property (or in b5’s case, group of properties) get, the bigger the target that is on your back.

In the case of Intense Debate and Disqus, none of this data is controlled by me. It’s controlled by them for a variety of reasons. SezWho did not host the comments which was a big selling point for them.

In the case of blogs, there are many things that can be done via mashup that doesn’t place any kind of liability on the site owner or blogger. However, in the context of comments, that is actually content.

In order for me to use Disqus or Intense Debate here – both of which I’m interested in using as it adds some nifty functionality to the blog – I need to host the content and control the styling. Without that, it’s a no-go.