LinkenIn Launches

Seems there's a great deal of excitement surrounding the launch of LinkedIn. I joined and already have about 900 contacts in my personal network. The idea is that you only interact with people in your web of trust. You can't get spammed because if someone wants to interact with you in this network, they have to go through one of your immediate contacts, your immediate ring of friends, and of course your friends are not going to pass spam on to you. Seems like a solid system and I'm going to use it myself to meet contacts for GlobeAlive.


Inspired First Blog

Mark Carey, one of the most active experts at GlobeAlive, has started a Movable Type blog here. The first post is all about the conversation marketplace, and how it's changing things for the better. He was inspired largely by the Cluetrain Manifesto and Doc's markets are conversations thesis, which was itself the primary inspiration behind the creation of GlobeAlive.

The Connections

GlobeAlive at its core aims at being the first opt-in, comprehensive, keyword-searchable database of people available for interaction on the web. By introducting The World Live Web, we hope to usher in the day when it is as easy to find and interact with relevant people on the web as it is today to find and interact with relevant documents on the web. Accordingly, there are potential tie-ins and partnerships with any concept or company that emphasizes the web's capacities as a personal-communications medium over its capacities as a document-display medium. Here are a few of the most salient connections:

  • The Social Software Alliance Nebulous and undefined as it may be, it's probably safe to say that at the very least The Social Software Alliance aims to create a much-needed infrastructure for the interaction of people on the web that will, we hope, one day rival the currently established infrastrucure for the interaction of websites on the web. GlobeAlive, at its best, could serve as the people-based search engine that enables one person within this interpersonal infrastructure to find and interact with another person or group within it-- matched by keyword/criteria/condition. Ideally, we could one day use GlobeAlive to find others participating in the web of people just as easily and accurately as we use Google to find websites participating in the web of documents.

  • Jabber Inc. & the Goal of an Open-Source, Universally Interoperable Instant Messaging Infrastructure GlobeAlive is not only a search engine of people, but allows one person to interact by instant messenger with another person found in the "people listings." But without a universal, interoperable instant messenger/chat client, this has proved to be a formidable and stifling task. We hope to partner with Jabber or otherwise use their open-source code to create a chat client along these lines. Furthermore, if Jabber (or AIM/MSN/Yahoo/IRC, etc) chose to include the option of participating in The World Live Web as part of the instant messenger download process, this would greatly enhance not only the richness of the GlobeAlive listings, but the value of the instant messenger being downloaded and used.

  • XpertWeb Britt Blaser's Xpertweb is an agreement, not a company, that allows participants to access each other to buy, sell and otherwise transact using self-hosted pages on both ends and thereby bypass corporate intermediaries-- all within an incentivized system that encourages mentoring and participation. GlobeAlive could both display XpertWeb participants in the GlobeAlive listings and provide current GlobeAlive participants with the option of participating in XpertWeb via a mentor. In relation to the topic below, as Blaser emphasizes, XpertWeb may also have the capacity to serve as the self-hosted foundation for a p2p identity management infrastructure.

  • Digital Identity There's a great deal of interest in the creation of a digital ID infrastructure with concentric layers of accessibility whereby our basic information, our likes and dislikes, as both consumers and social beings, is carried with us wherever we go on the net, and oneday the world in general. First, it would allow for single sign-in to all participating sites on the web, and (if we so chose) companies would know who we were, what we wanted and what we didn't want without having to ask us. If this idea spread to interactions with other people on the web, GlobeAlive could further enhance the benefits of participating. Part of creating one's personal ID profile could include whether one wished to participate in The World Live Web, and if so, under what conditions, under what keywords, etc, so that one could be "discovered" by people who knew the precise type of person they needed to find, but not their name. Important links in the Digital ID world: Ping ID (founder Andre Durand, Also see: Eric Norlin and Bryan Field-Elliot) Source ID, the Liberty Alliance, XpertWeb.

  • Google & the Standard Search Engines At first glance, GlobeAlive is generally characterized as a "live search engine," because it presents itself as such at the beta site: On the beta site, you run a search and you get people as search results, people that are often available for chat right now on your search topic. Because the "people listings" look much like website listings, they can be placed easily via an XML feed on any standard search engine. If Google were a partner, for example, and you ran a search on "social software" on Google, GlobeAlive people listings could come up as well. This way you might connect with people who wished to be found under a search for "social software." The same listing partnership could apply to any standard or specialized search engine.

  • Affero & Online Communities Affero "Rate. Donate." is a solid example of the kind of online community that could partner easily with GlobeAlive. If you're listed in an online community of just about any kind, from chat rooms to mailing lists, ideally, you can be listed in the GlobeAlive search listings as well, and according to your chosen keywords/criteria/conditions. Single-sign among partners is also a real possibility. Ping ID, for example, is already capable of creating "federated" sign-ins for partnering sites.

  • Blogging & Wikiblogging It has been strongly suggested to me that each GA participant's blog and/or wikis be included in the GlobeAlive search results, so that searchers can see what the people in the listings opinions are, and/or interact with them via a wiki, rather than simply seeing a static profile page and interacting offline solely by offline messaging. All three blog companies are potential partners: Movable Type, Blogger and Userland. Furthermore, the GlobeAlive search engine could search participants' blogs and wikis as a secondary means for finding search matches (provided the participant chose to be found in that fashion.) Feedster, a new blog engine built by Scott Johnson, for example, could possibly partner in this capacity. As a parting thought, Bryan Field-Elliot, mentioned above, believes that blogging software is the perfect foundation for housing a personal ID infrastructure.

  • Cell Phones & Palm Pilots GlobeAlive emphasizes standard instant messaging as the primary means of interacting with people in the search listings, but that's only because it's the medium that's easiest for us to implement right now. As a searchable database of opt-in people, it can be applied to any medium of interaction. If you want to be found under the keyword "wifi," for example, because you sell a related product or just like talking about them, chances are you're not in front of your computer prepared to chat at any given time, but are more often near your cell phone or palm pilot. Thus the connection. Telephony, etc. We're not there yet, but it's a natural evolution of the concept.

  • Other Tie-Ins Mitch Ratcliffe's strip-mall infomediary concept, file-sharing networks such as Gnutella, expert sites such as Google Answers, ActiveWords, smartmobbery, moblogging, The World of Ends (Doc and Dave Weinberger, ThinkBot, reputation engines and webs of trust. There are certainly more and I'll add them as I think of them.

All in all, GlobeAlive, although it is a company, is about participating in the World Live Web concept, which pretty much ties into every web application that emphasises the personal-communication aspect of the web as much as the document-display aspect of the web.