Matt's right, but you gotta start somewhere….

Matt's right, but you gotta start somewhere…..

Matt Mower is right.  Relationships ARE multi-valent.  Ideally one would be able to define LOTS of aspects and attributes that make up a relationship between two people and RDF could easily express that.

However if Matt knew what it took us to even broach the subject of multi-granularity to the RDF camp and get it expressed in FOAF, he'd know that you gotta walk before you can run.  Since everyone's concept of 'friends' is this binary yes or no sort of attitude, it has repercussions across all sorts of issues: user experience, profile interchange, the semantic web, ecommerce and multimedia personalization.

But I appreciate the input.  This digital identity thing is taking off and I'm looking forward to speaking at the upcoming DigitalID World conference in Denver Oct. 15-17 about grassroots issues and whether or not we “have a chance?”  I'll also be speaking about this at the RVC Softedge Conference Sept. 30-Oct. 1 on similar consumer related issues.

Whether it be for a foundation of federated social networks, enhacing one's digital lifestyle aggregation or as a basis multimedia personalization – putting identity into CONTEXT is what it's all about.  Identity doesn't work as a stand alone concept – putting folks into a frenzy about privacy and security.  It only works – when it's put into some real-world context.

If we're working on making cyberpsace work better with meatspace – then digital identity is the hub around which else rotates.  And being able to accurately define relationships is at the core of that hub.

Here's Matt's post………

Relationships are multi-valent.

I've thought about this a little and I think the problem here is that the current approaches only tackle half the problem.

It is reasonable to expect that being able to define a relationship in more accurate terms than the simple “friend” is a good thing.  Yet in Liz' case the increase in granularity lead to hieghtened indecision and ultimately an inability to make a choice.  We know granularity is important, yet further increasing it will lead to more indecision, not less.

My take is that the missing piece is a recognition that relationships are multi-valent.  From such a viewpoint statements like:

  • I know this person (by reputation)
  • I would like to know this person

do not define a relationship, but name some of it's many characteristics.  Being able to choose many of these statements (and you could expand the list of statements considerably) allows you to provide depth and, where necessary, inconsistency to how you view the relationship at that time.

[Curiouser and curiouser!]

BTW Make sure to check out Matt's neat – sidebar – widget.  It's brilliant!  [Marc's Voice]

Leave a comment