Scripting News for 6/22/2007

Did Microsoft pay star writers? 

Valleywag has a story that Federated Media is paying “star writers” to recite a Microsoft marketing slogan.

I sent emails to several of the writers and Microsoft PR. I also asked John Battelle, the founder of Federated Media, if this is true. He said: “As usual, it’s a bit more naunced.”

I have reason to not trust Valleywag, they’ve said things in the past I’ve known were not true, so right now I don’t know what to believe.

On the other hand the Federated Media site is for real, and it has quotes from the people Valleywag says are quoted. So some of it is true. Battelle didn’t deny it.

Om Malik: “I have requested Federated Media, our sales partners, suspend the campaign on our network of sites, and they have.”

What is an identity system?  

Dinner last night was with Doc Searls, at the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

When I got on the BART in Berkeley, I sent an email to Doc from my Blackberry saying I was on the train. When I got to the Powell Street BART station, I sent an SMS saying I had arrived. I walked three blocks to Union Square, and there was Doc, smiling and ready to talk about identity, which is much on my mind these days.

We covered a lot of ground, I reviewed my belief that the features of social networks are due to deconstruct into simple services that can be recombined by skilled users in an infinite number of ways. At the core of all of it is an identity system. So what is an identity system? Is there a good definition somewhere? How many features can you add before it becomes more than an identity system? This is important because in this area, it’s important to strip it down to its bare minimum, so that the first component of any network of people, events and resources can be maximally combined with features that depend on identity. The goal is to give the user the most options with the fewest identities.

Now this need to be minimal explains the interest I have in Twitter. Could it be that the ability to post 140-character status messages should be part of any identity system? Should every identity service minimally have a web browser interface, an IM interface and an SMS interface? Or is a back-end service enough, allowing applications to serve as front-ends, exclusively?

It seems that these are the questions we’ll answer in the coming months. But my gut feel is that if Twitter has more functionality than is required to define an identity system, it’s not much more. Not too much more. To prove it, one would have to build an application that required identity using Twitter as the identity server, and see if the extra features turned out to be useful, redundant, or in the way. My guess is that they would be useful, not redundant, and not in the way.

Then I had a conference call with Marc Canter this morning where we talked about the same issues from a whole different perspective. Marc believes in the explosive decontstruction of social networks, although he uses more polite terminology, because he believes in vendors, and true to form, I’m out to subvert the vendors. 🙂

Doc and I reached a very interesting place, but I don’t want to, at this time, talk about exactly what that was. Not sure I could do the idea justice. Might be better to put up an example app.

Also I should mention that Elliot Noss of Tucows was at the dinner too. Identity services and domain services are related, don’t you think?

PS: In 2001, I wrote about the “explosive deconstruction” of the brand names of journalism, a process that today, is well underway.

What’s up with Twitter? 

Last update was 2 hours ago.

Only five updates in the last 12 hours?

What’s going on wit da Twit?

Today’s links 

Soup of the day: Spicy Chicken Soup.

Drag queen of the day: Rudy Giuliani.

Soul artist of the day: Al Green.


Sports fans!!

8 responses to this post.

  1. Isn’t OpenId a good example of a minimalist identity system?


  2. I don’t know — is it?

    What apps have been built using OpenID?

    That’s what matters. Can you build something useful with OpenID, and if not, what’s missing?


  3. Main url :
    Here is a useful link for OpenId news :
    OpenId usage see :
    As for what applications, well it just tries to be the open identity bit for any web app. I don’t have a list but AOL, Microsoft and Digg have announced certain levels of support and there are many more, just search blogs for OpenId adoption.

    I have heard that there seems to be a lot of uptake in OpenId ‘providers’ but not enough on the consumers front (to many chiefs problem), not being an expert myself, it is difficult to know where to point you Dave, try some of those links.

    Key evangelist Simon Wilson’s blog can be foun d here :
    He is certainly the person to talk about it (I caught one of his presentations some time ago, it was excellent).

    It also has fairly comprehensive programming support and libraries

    I think if the right profiling/social app could be built on to it, OpenId it could be THE identity solution. Think Facebook with an OpenId.

    PS I am looking at using it for a project we are working on right now.



  4. i’m having to implement a new social network; and i want to do it differently; the problem is, how do you implement all those different services? email, sms, is, ps, more s…talk about an army of developers;

    i mostly find all the networks boring after a while. i’ve been doing this for a long time; i’ve hooked up with several one nights stands using the internet…nothing personal;

    twiter is interesting cause it was built for pundits, or that has become its accidental audiance.

    hopefully i spelled everything alright.

    coding like a madman.


  5. I see OpenID as a frontend to identifying a person in a given context. In my opinion, it is hard to talk about identity without relating security (a given) and context into the picture.

    What I mean by this is that depending on the context and role, you may want to expose different information at different times. For example, I may not care to share the social network that are my college friends with my professional network but others may choose to. And there is no perfect model just what people are going to be comfortable with. I like choice.

    Currently, I think this can be broken down into 3 major groups (obviously there are other ways to divvy things up).

    * Public
    An example would be your public persona/presence on the net or your professional identity.

    * Personal
    – Administrative: An administrative identity that would be use to interface with tasks such as banks etc etc.
    – Social: Social interactions with others.

    * Anonymous
    Sometimes you just want to be anonymous =)

    One can then have as many identities as desired, activating/deactivating/sharing/mixing as necessary. I guess one could describe it like a Venn diagram.


  6. Re: Did Microsoft pay star writers?
    Looks like they did:

    I wonder how much?


  7. Posted by Speed on June 23, 2007 at 11:19 am

    You may want to spend some time with Kim Cameron’s Identity Weblog.
    “We have undertaken a project to develop a formal understanding of the dynamics causing digital identity systems to succeed or fail in various contexts, expressed as the Laws of Identity. Taken together, these laws define a unifying identity metasystem that can offer the Internet the identity layer it so obviously requires. They also provide a way for people new to the identity discussion to understand its central issues. This lets them actively join in, rather than everyone having to restart the whole discussion from scratch.”


  8. Perhaps the Google sponsored team at Carnegie Mellon U are on to something Dave. Take a peek at where they’re up to:

    “Socialstream would be based on a unified social network (USN), a single network that provides social data to other sites as a service.”


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