Switch to OFF

If you’re like me and are members of a growing list of social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and the like you regret the need to maintain separate lists of friends. It is painful to register and recreate your friends list on every new social site. Thus I very much support the idea of OFF (Open Friends Format). This is discussed fully in a Mashable article which states:

Each time you sign up, you’re faced with starting again from scratch. And while Facebook has made moves towards openness, it remains a data silo like any other, claiming ownership of your “social grid” (friend network) and other data despite having no real claim to it.

OFF will fulfill a similar need to OPML and RSS feeds. OPML allows an aggregated list of RSS feeds to be exported and imported between RSS feed readers. In a similar way OFF would allow the free exchange of friends lists.

As it happens the very recent release of the Windows Live ID API has anticipated this need to some extent. Windows Live ID is the successor to Microsoft Passport and presents a RESTful service. It is possible on your own web sites not only to authenticate a user’s Live ID but also to access, with the user’s permission, the list of contacts (friends) from the Windows Live Messenger contact list.


About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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