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A social namespace

Sunday, November 08, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A few days ago I added OPML export to listbrowser.orgPermalink to this paragraph

Today I want to extend that support to include information from the social network about each user. In this case, the social network is Twitter. I could see situations where this namespace might be used to present information from status.net or Facebook, when they support lists, as Twitter has. Permalink to this paragraph

I'm going to use the name xSocial. The "x" could stand for one of two things: 1. XML or 2. Experimental, in the spirit of MIME types that are considered experimental or ad hoc, or proposals of future standards, and have an "x" in front of their names. In other words, I'm doing this because someone has to go first, and maybe someone already has, so this is my way of asking for comments (or, more likely, flames). Permalink to this paragraph

Here's a list of elements that may appear in documents that use the namespace. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userId -- a string of characters that identifies a user.  Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userName -- the user's name. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userDescription -- a string of characters describing the user. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userLocation -- a string, the location of the user. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userUrl -- the address of the user's web page. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userStatuses -- the number of status messages from the user. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userFollows -- the number of people the user follows. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userFollowedBy -- the number of people who follow the user. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userProfileImageUrl -- the address of the user's "avatar" image. Permalink to this paragraph

xSocial:userScreenName -- the name the user goes by in the network. Permalink to this paragraph

Caveats and disclaimers: Permalink to this paragraph

1. Think of Twitter as establishing the precedent here. When in doubt each of these elements is defined by the way Twitter uses them. Permalink to this paragraph

2. Twitter keeps other information with each user, this is just the list of information that I include, now, in the OPML that's generated by listbrowser.org. I may add or remove data in the future, or use a different namespace. If it changes, I will hopefully remember to include a comment under this post. Permalink to this paragraph

3. Here's an example of a file that illustrates. Permalink to this paragraph

4. The usual disclaimers apply, including but not limited to: A. It's even worse than it appears. B. I make shitty software. C. I am not a lawyer. D. My mother loves me. A picture named sidesmiley.gif Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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