the social graph: so many nodes, so little time.

The tubes are dumb.

  1. People I actually know in person: you should go sign up on SonicLiving and friend me there. It's a concert-recommending web site that seems to actually work pretty well. (Let it read your iTunes. I recommend the "5 or more tracks" checkbox.)

    If I don't know you, I'll probably ignore you. So make it obvious who you actually are, please. Left to its own devices, all SonicLiving tells me about you is first-name-last-initial, and that's really not enough to go on.

  2. People who work on social network sites: You know what we, your users, are really sick of doing? Re-finding and re-friending all of our friends every time the intertubes spit out another whack-a-mole social network site. Why has your company not yet implemented brad's Social Graph API? Won't you get on that already please? Pretty fucking please?

  3. People who work on social network sites, part 2: It's great that all of you are OpenID providers now. it's completely useless that none of you are OpenID consumers. What the hell, people.

  4. I dug through Keychain Access and my cookies to try and track down all the sites I have a login on that have a notion of "friends", and "claimed ownership" of them on You do that like this:

    But that doesn't really do anything, since no sites pay attention to any of this. If you add that kind of stuff and then run your site through the Google social graph API demo, it doesn't actually find most of them. If you run it through the Plaxo graph searcher, it spiders them all, but you then discover that almost none of them are even providing rel="me" links back to your claimed home page.

  5. If you use any of those sites, feel free to friend me (though as you can tell, I barely use any of them.) Again, if I actually know you in real life, make it clear to me who you are or I'll probably ignore you.

    Possibly the reason that I barely use any of them is that they're kind of useless. But possibly the reason is that it's just too much hassle to re-create the friend tree on each of them. It's hard to tell.

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33 Responses:

  1. coldacid says:

    When did you get on FriendFeed? Last time I checked for you, you weren't there and I had to clone you.

  2. kanin says:

    I'm glad you think SonicLiving works well. Enjoy!

    • jwz says:

      I'm guessing that means you work there?

      Assuming it does, here are the things that are kinda lame about it:

      1. When someone friends me, it tells me, e.g., "John D wants to rock out with you." My first thought is "who?" So I go to their page, and they have some planet-of-the-apes action figure as their user pic, and I can't see their last name, or email address, or web site, or anything. This person has added me as a friend, but I can't see any identifying information about them to figure out whether I actually know them or not. That's monumentally useless.

      2. I added the Facebook app, and I'm not really sure why, because it doesn't seem to actually do anything. But, the first thing I tried was the "find your friends on Facebook" link. Now, the sane thing for that to do would be to log into Facebook, get a list of my friends there, and tell me which of them already have accounts on SonicLiving. What it does instead is give me the opportunity to spam all of my Facebook friends and implore them to go create SonicLiving accounts -- even the ones who already have SonicLiving accounts. Srsly wtf.

      3. The Java iTunes scraper is fast and easy to use, and the "only when I have 5 or more tracks" checkbox is a great idea. But what would be an even better idea than that would be an "only when rated N stars or more" checkbox.

      The database of shows seems more complete than the others I've tried, though, so that's swell.

    • endquote says:

      It looks like you can get shows based on your iTunes or without actually setting up an account, which would be very cool, but it doesn't work. The iTunes upload never completes, and importing has no affect on what shows are displayed.

      The iTunes uploader should give some indication of where the file to upload is. I know where "iTunes Music Library.xml" is, but lots of people don't know it exists.

      It's cool that you can import your calendar into google calendar, but when I do, I'm getting SF shows. I'm in Seattle and using the "wishlist shows" calendar.

  3. ivan_ghandhi says:

    Just imagine the kind of people that develop social networks. Why do they do it? Because they want to fix the Universe, to match their notion of how socializing should look like. Meaning, they all have problems socializing. They pretend to be geeks (thus explaining their communication problems), but they are just freaks. And imagine a bunch of such freaks, getting together, each having their own version of ideal Universe; can they cooperate? They hate each other, as well as all the suckers that use their brilliant software. Everybody around is ignorant, inexperienced, sloppy, incompetent. If they are asked to introduced this or that feature, by, say, 100 000 people from around the world, they have a strong opinion: all those users just don't know what they actually need.

    This is the same kind of people that executed thousands of users after the French revolution and millions of users after the Russian revolution. Because they know better. Even Hitler was better than them, because Hitler at least had German people which he tried to make happy, in his own weird way.

    You give users the right to connect their accounts, freely migrating their avataras from one hosting service to another, and they lose their power over the people.

    • jwz says:

      GODWIN IN 1!

      I can't tell if you're a self-parody or not. Kudos, sir. Kudos.

      • pphaneuf says:

        Also, he says that Hitler is better, which is kind of an anti-Godwin of sorts? Very clever.

      • gryazi says:

        I am digging the "executed thousands of users" line.

        [Do not understand "social networks" either though. A contact list / friend list may make sense for a given site offering some other core feature (e.g. Livejournal - publishing), anything cross-site just seems like a convenience to advertisers. Didn't we used to call these "portals" back in Web 0.9a?]

    • coldacid says:

      Sadly, I think you might be right.

    • romulusnr says:

      World... DOMINATION!

  4. pyrop says:

    I seem to recall OpenID having a bunch of security problems (although that post is from a year and a half ago so those issues could very well be resolved by now).

    • evan says:

      That post is pretty useless. They say there's a problem with CSRF and XSS, but the "problem" they mention is that once you've logged into e.g. LiveJournal to prove your identity to some other site, you're now logged into LiveJournal and you're now vulnerable if LiveJournal has any bugs.

  5. ultranurd says:

    I know of only two OpenID consumers that I bothered getting an account with: GamerDNA (OpenID optional) and stackoverflow (OpenID required). GamerDNA is more explicitly a social network, in trying to be a centralized place to post all of your game handles etc.

    This was enough momentum to get me to set up the delegate (as you did, I used LiveJournal, mostly because Yahoo! and others where I have accounts made it a huge pain to figure out what to put in as the server).

  6. greatevil says:

    I would just like to add: WTF is up with the new trend of "Give us your email password to get your address book. We promise we would never do anything bad with it"

    Talk about fucked up 6 ways to Sunday. At least Gmail lets you export your address book in sane ways to work around this. But then again just because I have your email address in no way means I want you as a friend.

    • coldacid says:

      Similar thing exists for contacts in Hotmail, although I've not heard of Yahoo doing the same with their webmail. It's just a lot of sites seem to have crazy programmers who would rather just scrape a page than do things the proper way.

    • romulusnr says:

      Throw that in along with the "Post this to your blog -- just give us your blog l/p" features.

  7. endico says:

    "Crud almighty it didn't work."

    alas, they only play nice with people whose itunes library is on the system disk

    • scullin says:

      Having gotten that error message, and armed with the knowledge that jwz doesn't store his itunes library on the system disk, I went with:

      cd ~/Music
      ln -s /Volumes/Storage/Music/iTunes .


      • endico says:

        Thanks, i finally got it too. Now the problem is that they don't like my user icon. JWZ has a png so that's not it. Maybe they don't like alpha. Or the size. Oh well, I'll stick with my default planet of the apes pic.

  8. rodgerd says:

    I'm assuming some monkeys in the strategy and marketing divisions of the social networking companies have some sort of equation that goes...

    OpenID provider = "owning" our online presence
    OpenID consumer = admitting not owning everyone's online presence.

    And therefore actually using OpenID in a meaningful way is an admission of failure in some way.

    • kscaldef says:

      There's also a feeling of...

      OpenID provider = our security & privacy is trustworthy
      OpenID consumer = have to trust other people's security

  9. Ooh, sonicliving lists ONE concert near me. And that's in April 2009. And it's Tina Turner.

    I shall sign up posthaste.

    • loosechanj says:

      Jesus, you must be further out in the stix than I am, I've got dozens in the next couple months. Then again, they're all at least an hour's drive.

      • waider says:

        I like how when I enter "Dublin, Ireland" as a location, it doesn't even bother telling me it doesn't know of such a location: it just stays at whatever location it was already at. Best I can get is London, England.

        I suppose I could file a bug.

  10. unwoman says:

    I friended you as Erica M on sonic living last night, and just now have I had time to make it clear who I really am.

  11. rm76 says:

    Hey Ryan,

    We wanted to let you know that Jamie Zawinski just joined Plaxo.

    Jamie's in your address book and if you both connect, you can:
    - View Jamie's profile,
    - See who you and Jamie know in common,
    - Share photos, contact info, blogs and more with Jamie

    To connect with Jamie, go to:
    You can also connect with Jaclyn Strano, John Newfry, Jamie Zawinski or see other people you may know

    The Pulse Team

  12. elusis says:

    Wow, the applet to scrape your iTunes list and upload it to your Sonic Living wishlist apparently does not work in Firefox for Mac, because it just runs and runs and nothing ever happens. Major FAIL. I had to use Safari to get it to work.