Well, Twitter, along with Marshall and his post on ReadWriteWeb, beat me to it, but I’m pretty excited to announce that, yes, I am joining Vidoop, along with Will Norris, to work full time on the DiSo (distributed social) Project.
For quite some time I’ve wanted to get the chance to get back to focusing on the work that I started with Flock — and that I’ve continued, more or less, with my involvement and advocacy of projects like microformats, OpenID and OAuth. These projects don’t accidentally relate to people using technology to behave socially: they exist to make it easier, and better, for people to use the web (and related technologies) to connect with one another safely, confidently, and without the need to to sign up with any particular network just to talk to their friends and people that they care about.
The reality is that people have long been able to connect to one another using technology — what was the first telegraph transmission if not the earliest poke heard round the world? The problem that we have today is that, with the proliferation of fairly large, non-interoperable social networks, it’s not as easy as email or telephones have been to connect to people, and so, the next generation of social networks are invariably going to need to make the process of connecting over the divides easier, safer and with less friction if people really are going to, as expected, continue to increase their use of the web for communication and social interaction.
So what is the DiSo Project?
The DiSo Project has humble roots. Basically Steve Ivy and I started hacking on a plugin that I’d written that added hcards to your contact list or blogroll. It was really stupidly simple, but when we combined it with Will Norris’ OpenID plugin, we realized that we were on to something — since contact lists were already represented as URLs, we now had a way to verify whether the person who ostensibly owned one of those URLs was leaving a comment, or signing in, and we could thereby add new features, expose private content or any number of other interesting social networking-like thing!
This lead me to start “sketching” ideas for WordPress plugins that would be useful in a distributed social network, and eventually Steve came up with the name, registered the domain, and we were off!
Since then, Stephen Paul Weber has jumped in and released additional plugins for OAuth, XRDS-Simple, actionstreams and profile import, and this was when the project was just a side project.
What’s this mean?
Working full time on this means that Will and I should be able to make much more progress, much more quickly, and to work with other projects and representatives from efforts like Drupal, BuddyPress and MovableType to get interop happening (eventually) between each project’s implementation.
Will and I will eventually be setting up an office in San Francisco, likely a shared office space (hybrid coworking), so if you’re a small company looking for a space in the city, let’s talk.
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about DiSo in particular, you should probably just check out the interview I did with myself about DiSo to get caught up to speed.
. . .
I’ll probably post more details later on, but for now I’m stoked to have the opportunity to work with a really talented and energized group of folks to work on the social layer of the open web.