Re: Webmaker 2013 roadmap RFC (request for comment)

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Jacob Caggiano

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Jan 23, 2013, 8:38:15 PM1/23/13
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I'd like to add a small bit here which has to do with the reluctance around the term "social network." Folks on the call yesterday used the phrase "community of craft" and "build a friendly audience"
As we continue to move forward with building this platform / product / community, we're going to be constantly working against the disdain around "yet another social network."

I think it's really important to bake in the open web message, and make it clear to folks that you're not just signing up for another social network, you're building an identity and presence on the web itself. This isn't a new social network trying to get your attention, it's the same one you've been on this whole time, and it begins with h-t-t-p colon slash slash

Everything you do on webmaker.org can live anywhere else on the web. In an ideal world, thousands of sites all over the place will accept Persona logins and open badges, and people will hopefully start demanding that they do, or they will take their digital lives elsewhere.

Imagine how liberating it will be to no longer be a wondering indentured servant who has to pack up and leave every few years once you're landlord becomes uncool or goes bankrupt. You're learning to build your own house, and it happens to be a rocket ship :)

Anyways, I could go on a tangent for a while about that but just wanted to get my feelings out there that everything on this roadmap should move one step closer to the users feeling empowered and comfortable talking to their friends about the open web versus the everyday products that they're currently using. I feel like it's key to making this whole thing work and it's what makes Mozilla unique and truly valuable amongst every other tech organization out there.

Really exciting stuff everyone! Can't wait to see this universe expand.

~Jacob

Brett Gaylor

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Jan 23, 2013, 8:53:44 PM1/23/13
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OK, I said I would wait to chime in with a blog post, but I just wanted to add a hearty "hell yes" to Jacob's post :)

I can actually imagine a tag line or welcome screen: "welcome to your new social network: the web"
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Ryan Merkley

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Jan 23, 2013, 8:57:04 PM1/23/13
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Sadly, colonslashslash.com is taken.

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Ryan Merkley
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Lyre Calliope

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Jan 24, 2013, 2:18:40 PM1/24/13
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On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 8:38:15 PM UTC-5, Jacob Caggiano wrote:
> I'd like to add a small bit here which has to do with the reluctance around the term "social network." Folks on the call yesterday used the phrase "community of craft" and "build a friendly audience"
>
> As we continue to move forward with building this platform / product / community, we're going to be constantly working against the disdain around "yet another social network."
>
>
>
> I think it's really important to bake in the open web message, and make it clear to folks that you're not just signing up for another social network, you're building an identity and presence on the web itself. This isn't a new social network trying to get your attention, it's the same one you've been on this whole time, and it begins with h-t-t-p colon slash slash
>
>
>
> Everything you do on webmaker.org can live anywhere else on the web. In an ideal world, thousands of sites all over the place will accept Persona logins and open badges, and people will hopefully start demanding that they do, or they will take their digital lives elsewhere.
>
>
>
> Imagine how liberating it will be to no longer be a wondering indentured servant who has to pack up and leave every few years once you're landlord becomes uncool or goes bankrupt. You're learning to build your own house, and it happens to be a rocket ship :)
>
>
>
> Anyways, I could go on a tangent for a while about that but just wanted to get my feelings out there that everything on this roadmap should move one step closer to the users feeling empowered and comfortable talking to their friends about the open web versus the everyday products that they're currently using. I feel like it's key to making this whole thing work and it's what makes Mozilla unique and truly valuable amongst every other tech organization out there.
>
>
>
> Really exciting stuff everyone! Can't wait to see this universe expand.
>
>
>
> ~Jacob

Jacob, I agree with your reluctance. I like to tell people that this notion of a 'social web' does not yet exist. What we have are prototypes of a social web that have yet to be fully implemented within the open web stack.

This terminology is important to get right and the key teachable focus here should be 'what is the open web?' If we want to introduce the word 'social' into the picture, we must be prepared to define what we mean by 'social web' and how it differs from social network apps where social graph data is locked in silos rather than distributed and owned by its users.

And that's what Facebook and G+ are. They're not social networks, they're social networking apps that hold social graph data hostage.

There's been plenty of work done trying to create federated social networks, but none have gained wide adoption.. and in fact these efforts may have been putting the cart before the horse. Is Webmaker the thing that changes this? I envision a time when Webmaker enables everyone to 'roll their own' social network presence without having to be locked into any one third party social networking app. This is one of the hypotheses I want to begin to test 6-12 months from now when all this newfangled tech being built into HTML5 and for FirefoxOS lands in Firefox proper.

The test would involve being able to use Webmaker to create social network styled profiles using Markup APIs and microformats (http://microformats.org/) to get comparable functionality to today's social networks.. and link to pages where other people are doing the same thing!

Modify the markup defining your relationship to someone from 'friend' to 'family member'? Achievement unlocked, you get a badge! Switch out the default open source 'activity stream' widget to one created by Facebook? Badge!

Teaching the principles of the 'open web' in relation to personal identity infrastructure strikes me as a powerful opportunity. It see it as the equivalent to young Jedi questing to create their own personal lightsaber.

But these experiments are out of scope for Webmaker's current roadmap because they depend on functionality still in the pipeline for HTML5 and FirefoxOS. Until then, I think it's important to get our messaging about 'social' right. I think the term 'network' should be avoided. For now, it's not about creating a mappable network, it's about communication and interactive spaces for collaborative learning.

It's a 'social space'.

Brett, a better tagline type thing might be 'Welcome to your new makerspace on the open web.' It speaks to and invites the larger community of makers, and it frames Webmaker as a -space- for open creativity without limitations rather than a tool with narrow applications and lock-in.

Cheers!
Lyre Calliope

Lyre Calliope

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Jan 24, 2013, 2:18:40 PM1/24/13
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On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 8:53:44 PM UTC-5, Brett Gaylor wrote:
On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 8:38:15 PM UTC-5, Jacob Caggiano wrote:
> I'd like to add a small bit here which has to do with the reluctance around the term "social network." Folks on the call yesterday used the phrase "community of craft" and "build a friendly audience"
>
> As we continue to move forward with building this platform / product / community, we're going to be constantly working against the disdain around "yet another social network."
>
>
>
> I think it's really important to bake in the open web message, and make it clear to folks that you're not just signing up for another social network, you're building an identity and presence on the web itself. This isn't a new social network trying to get your attention, it's the same one you've been on this whole time, and it begins with h-t-t-p colon slash slash
>
>
>
> Everything you do on webmaker.org can live anywhere else on the web. In an ideal world, thousands of sites all over the place will accept Persona logins and open badges, and people will hopefully start demanding that they do, or they will take their digital lives elsewhere.
>
>
>
> Imagine how liberating it will be to no longer be a wondering indentured servant who has to pack up and leave every few years once you're landlord becomes uncool or goes bankrupt. You're learning to build your own house, and it happens to be a rocket ship :)
>
>
>
> Anyways, I could go on a tangent for a while about that but just wanted to get my feelings out there that everything on this roadmap should move one step closer to the users feeling empowered and comfortable talking to their friends about the open web versus the everyday products that they're currently using. I feel like it's key to making this whole thing work and it's what makes Mozilla unique and truly valuable amongst every other tech organization out there.
>
>
>
> Really exciting stuff everyone! Can't wait to see this universe expand.
>
>
>
> ~Jacob

Benjamin Moskowitz

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Jan 24, 2013, 7:21:27 PM1/24/13
to Lyre Calliope, mozilla....@googlegroups.com, webmaker@lists.mozilla.org list
That is the gnarliest project I've ever heard proposed. Cool but so so ambitious.

But I wonder if there are people in the FOSS universe who'd be interested in prototyping what that would actually look like...

What do you think, Lyre?

Lyre Calliope

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Jan 24, 2013, 7:40:34 PM1/24/13
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If we set the stage for it, sure! Nothing in this proposal impacts the architecture of Webmaker, but would be a project type enabled by it.

Honestly though, I think it's a bit early for this particular experiment. I'd rather revisit in a few months when more of the requisite pieces actually exist.

The only reason I even brought it up this early is because it might help inform how we think about storytelling and marketing language.

Cheers!
Lyre Calliope

Lyre Calliope

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Jan 24, 2013, 7:40:34 PM1/24/13
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On Thursday, January 24, 2013 7:21:27 PM UTC-5, Benjamin Moskowitz wrote:
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