Understanding Open Stack, the Connective Tissue of the Social Web

I’ve been conducting interviews for my upcoming report on the Future of Social Networks, and have spent time with many vendors that have started to mention the “Open Stack” (both Google and Plaxo mentioned this to me). As a web decision maker (I call you a web strategist) you need to be aware of emerging technologies and how they impact your strategy.

The Open Stack (much like an application stack) is a set of technologies that allow for the passing, sharing of data across multiple containers and platforms, learn the details from the Plaxo guys. To be specific, the stack consists of OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, XRDS-Simple, and Portable Contacts. It’s a tendons between bones, it’s the sinew between muscles, it’s what I call “connective tissues”.

Open Stack

If you’ve been watching the news, major platforms are adopting these technologies, most recently, the big giant Facebook (who is known for being more closed and proprietary than others) has joined the Open ID Foundation.

Steve Kuhn took notes from a recent Web 2.0 event which explains why OpenStack and what the technologies do. Kris was at the same event and gives more details into how it works. Uncle Marc Canter, who flaked on my meeting with him, (he’ll say it was me who flaked, don’t believe him) thinks broader about the OpenMesh, in between painting his fence with architecture diagrams.

So what’s my report going to say? I’m looking at the impact of these technologies and others looking 3-5 years out and how they impact brands, consumers, and the community. What kind of crazy things can happen? The act of friending could go away, registration pages could die, and corporate product pages may look more like wikis, yup, anything’s possible. I’ve already finished many of my interviews folks such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, RWW, Razorfish, Dell, Gigya, Intel, Meebo, Federated Media and others –and have found a few patterns. more to come soon.

32 Replies to “Understanding Open Stack, the Connective Tissue of the Social Web”

  1. I think what will be most interesting is how the really good ideas will get filtered and bubble up via the crowd. Our Personal Learning Environments (PLE) will come into being as the stacks connectivity becomes ubiquitous.

  2. My first experience with Marc and Devorah Canter was with VideoWorks, which is today Flash. It’s been amazing to see how right-on Marc has been with his deep thinking about the Open Mesh.

    IMHO, Twitter and Facebook owe a big debt of gratitude to Marc’s thought leadership. We are just starting to scratch the surface of its implications.


  3. Thank you for pointing out at all that, and trying to simplify it. As much as I’d love to encourage you, I’ve been trying to synthesize these approaches for quite some time, and if anything, they are changing. Most ideas started vague and promissing; they evolved a lot since ” generally towards the direction of the general understanding. For instance: OpenID and OAuth appeared very different from the point of view of thse who developped them; anyone who sees them things they are the first and second step of a logical concept ” and this is precisely what they became.

    If you think time is ripe for a report, fine ” I still have many questions about several features that don’t seem to be well integrated yet. I trust that the comments will be able to be pooled (although RSS hasn’t been able to do it for years); I’m not so sure context-awareness is so well understood or even manageable by the developpers of such technologies, and I’d bet that it will break the current model, or make it the most spectacular social revolution ever. Therefore: starting a report is a fantastic idea; but unless you are ready to have an obsolete analysis before it is out, arm yourself with patience; so far, it’s mostly an enthousiastic and fascinating conversation.

  4. I hope insights will go deeper into social marketing/branding opportunities that can be facilitated using the new technologies.

    Portable identity and contacts have been around for a while (openID, oAuth, MS passport, etc.) and haven’t made a big impact, but social marketing is the next big thing.

  5. No tendons between the bones. There are ligaments — fixed tension tensile elements.

    There certainly is no stack. Nothing is stacked; the bones have a floating relationship with each other. Our structure is non-hookean (nonlinear) by design for material efficiency, energy efficiency, ability to absorb (i.e. damp) shocks, springiness, robustness, flexibility, etc.

    Almost nobody has a handle on the fascia. Some think of it as a passive web like cotton candy, but some European researchers have found that the fascia will actively reorganize itself over time. They showed their work at the first world fascia congress in 2007 ( fasciacongress.org ).

    I’m not complaining that you’re using an analogy to our structure; I’m happy there are people thinking that way. I think some wonderful analogies can be found if we look at the structures that nature has taken hundreds of thousands of years to fine-tune. OTOH, we must realize that our common wisdom about our structure is lacking; we must approach the topic with a beginner’s mind.

    http://www.anatomytrains.com/uploads/rich_media/AnatomyTrainsOverview.pdf is an overview of the gross structure of our bodies.

    http://www.anatomytrains.com/explore/spatialmedicine/expanded speaks of the third fractal/pervasive network in our bodies. It also speaks of an interesting relationship between tension and information in our bodies.

    This is a rich territory for analogies.

  6. Um …. your message showed how powerfully you can communicate — even if you’re using a less-than-perfect analogy.

    @gtdguy is famous for talking about “mind like water” — an analogy he got from practicing martial arts. Our structure is more like a fluid than any solid.

    I’m not sure I understand your question. I do sometimes have my enthusiasm displace nuance and subtlety.

    Thanks for making me laugh today.

  7. The need for federated identity management in social media becomes more and more pressing with the emergence of the ever growing number of platforms.

    The announcement of the OAuth implementation at Twitter is but one example: this will be the growth enabler for twitter, especially in the enterprise arena (then offering more robust and trusting API’s for integration with e.g. enterprise systems, such as CRM and HRM).

    I believe we will see some form of convergence of open authentication, and existing authentication standards and protocols such as SAML an the WS* standards for authentication.

    How this will work out is still very open IMO.

  8. I know little of federated identity management, but the buttocks of any informational network would be: 1) quiet in standing, 2) active in running, and 3) very active in transferring contralateral loads, as in kayaking or javelin-throwing, so I guess I’ll vote for the FCC.

  9. Maybe Facebook and Twitter are the two most important main stream.They have exert an great influence in social and business.Such as Dell have gained big economic benefit from facebook and twitter.Many business as wireless security camera info can be found from twitter.

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