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Social networks: technical issues


This material comes from the course I give to 2nd year-students at Centrale Nantes who follow the "Webstrategies and development" program. During this semester long program, students have the …

This material comes from the course I give to 2nd year-students at Centrale Nantes who follow the "Webstrategies and development" program. During this semester long program, students have the opportunity to develop a sound understanding of current web marketing techniques and to put these techniques into practice through real professional missions undertaken with our partners. All courses are given in English. More information on our blog:

This courses aims to give an overview of technical outcomes behind social networks (syndication, semantic web, ...) and to help students get familiar with their on-line identity.

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  • 1. Social networking Office E214
  • 2. Be aware of what goes public
  • 3. Be aware of what goes public
  • 4. Be aware of what goes public
  • 5. Different networks, different usages
  • 6. Different networks, different usages
  • 7. Different networks, different usages
  • 8. Different networks, different usages
  • 9. Different networks, different usages
  • 10. Different networks, different usages
  • 11. Different networks, different usages
  • 12. Different networks, different usages From:
  • 13. Online identity
  • 14. Online identity
  • 15. Online identity
  • 16. Online identity
  • 17. Technical issues of social Internet
  • 18. Web 2.0 • Web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration • Websites mimic desktop applications: word processing, spreadsheet, slide- show presentations • Asynchronous communications: To permit the user to continue to interact with the page, communications such as data requests going to the server are separated from data coming back to the page
  • 19. Web 2.0 • Takes profit from the capabilities of: • Client- and server-side software • Content syndication • Use of network protocols • Client and server side technologies: Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax) • Server side technologie: PHP, Ruby, ColdFusion, Perl, Python, and ASP
  • 20. Some Web 2.0 applications • • • • •
  • 21. Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0 • publishing --> participation • directories (taxonomy) --> tagging ("folksonomy") • personal websites --> blogging • domain name speculation --> search engine optimization • page views --> cost per click • content management systems --> wikis • Britannica Online --> Wikipedia • Source :
  • 22. Web 2.0 • Pros: • Interactive web applications • Recommendations between users • Collaborative spaces • Cons: • Is it really a technical revolution? • Creating a Web 2.0 company just to sell it to Yahoo, Google or Microsoft? • Accessibility
  • 23. Semantic web • Evolving development of the Internet supported by W3C • Emphasizes on the meaning (semantics) of information and services on the web is defined, making it possible for the web to "understand" and satisfy the requests of people and machines to use the web content • Help computers categorise the content of web pages so that machines process similar to human deductive reasoning and inference • Aim: make the information be understandable by computers, so that they can find, combine, and act upon information on the web
  • 24. Semantic web • Involves publishing in languages specifically designed for data: Resource Description Framework (RDF), Web Ontology Language (OWL), and Extensible Markup Language (XML). • Very simple examples for turning the web into semantics: • <item>cat</item> --> <item rdf:about="">Cat</ item> • César said: <i>Alea jacta est.</i> --> <cite>César</cite> said : <q>Alea jacta est</q>
  • 25. Semantic web From:
  • 26. Syndication
  • 27. Syndication
  • 28. Syndication
  • 29. Syndication
  • 30. Syndication
  • 31. Syndication • Website material is made available to multiple other sites or individual subscribers • Benefits both the websites providing information and the websites displaying it • Very useful for frequently updated content • First version of RSS created by Guha at Netscape in March 1999 for use on the My.Netscape.Com portal
  • 32. Applications of syndication • News websites • Weblogs • Podcasting • Personal aggregators or feed readers
  • 33. Feed readers • Display the contents of multiple web feeds on a single screen or series of screens • Web-based: Google Reader, Netvibes, ... • Desktop-based: NetNewsWire, Firefox, Mail, .. • Mobile-device-based: Newsstand, Pro RSS, ... • Websites aggregating content
  • 34. Web feeds • Standardized XML file format • Supported by every major web browser • Main web syndication formats: RSS and Atom
  • 35. RSS • Really Simple Syndication • Two majors branches: • RDF (or RSS 1.*) branch: RSS 0.90, 1.0, 1.1 • RSS 2.* branch: RSS 0.91-0.94, 2.0
  • 36. RSS
  • 37. Atom • Developed as an alternative to RSS • Because some people thought RSS had limitations and flaws (lack of on- going innovation, necessity to remain backward compatible)
  • 38. Atom
  • 39. Differences between RSS and Atom • RSS tags: • title, link, date, language, creator, subject, description, content • Atom tags: • title, link, issued, modified, id, author, subject, summary, content • Different paradigms regarding: • Content model • Date formats • Internationalization
  • 40. Online identity • Being anonymous is just an illusion • Some issues: • Identity exposure • Reliability of online identities • Reputation management
  • 41. OpenID
  • 42. OpenID
  • 43. OpenID
  • 44. OpenID
  • 45. OpenID
  • 46. OpenID • Method of using a single login at a trusted provider to automatically allow you trusted access to other websites • Open, decentralized standard for authenticating users • Can be used for access control, allowing users to log on to different services with the same digital identity where these services trust the authentication body (e.g. banking or e-commerce) • Used and provided by several large websites, e.g. Facebook, Typepad, PayPal, LiveJournal • Developped since 2005
  • 47. OpenID principles • 1/ The user visits a relying party web site which displays an OpenID login form (connected to an implementation of an OpenID client library) • 2/ The user types his OpenID identifier into the aforementioned OpenID login form. • 3/ The relying party then requests the identity provider to authenticate the user • 4/ The identity provider requests the user whether he trusts the relying party web site • 5/ After the OpenID identifier has been verified, OpenID authentication is considered successful • 6/ The user is now considered logged in to the relying party web site.
  • 48. OpenID providers • OpenID Foundation: • OpenID Europe Foundation: • OpenID France:
  • 49. XFN • XHTML Friends Network (XFN) • HTML microformat (i.e. approach that re-uses existing XHTML and HTML tags to convey metadata) • Provides a way to represent human relationships using links. • Enables web authors to indicate relationships to the people in their blogrolls by adding one or more keywords as the rel attribute to their links <a href="" rel="colleague met">Guillaume Moreau</a> <a href="" rel="friend">Jimmy Example</a>
  • 50. FOAF
  • 51. FOAF
  • 52. FOAF With FOAF, it becomes possible to answer questions like: “Who are the people living in Nantes and aged less than 30 with their own personal website and who enjoy playing go?”
  • 53. FOAF • FOAF • Social Semantic Web application • Machine-readable ontology describing persons, their activities and their relations to other people and objects • Descriptive vocabulary expressed using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) • Natively supported by some web applications (e.g. and
  • 54. FOAF ressources • FOAF Project homepage: • FOAF vocabulary specification:
  • 55. Social aspects of Internet
  • 56. • New services emerge from: • Existing information • Data • Services • Information and services may be used a way that has not been targeted by the initial creators • Facebook moved from an alumni network to an online community • Social dimension
  • 57. Blogs • Type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material • 133,000,000: (June'09) number of blogs indexed by Technorati since 2002 • Classification attempts: • Personal blogs • Corporate and organizational blogs • By genre (political blogs, travel blogs, dreamlogs, ...) • By media type (vlog, linklog, sketchblog, ...)
  • 58. Technical tools for blogging • Developer-hosted platforms (blog farms): • Typepad : • Viabloga : • Skyrock :
  • 59. Technical tools for blogging • User hosted platforms: • Wordpress : • Dotclear : • Movable Type : • Most common technologies: • PHP or Perl to manage dynamic pages • MySQL or XML to manage data
  • 60. Twitter • Microblogging service • Changes blogging habits • 9,680,000,000 tweets up to date ( • RSS file for each Twitter account • Free social networking and microblogging service,... • But what could happen to your data (and to your URL)? • Open-source alternative:
  • 61. Wikis • Collaborative work • Continuous improvement of documents • Useful for collaborative websites, personal note taking, in corporate intranets, and in knowledge management systems • Examples: • • •
  • 62. Social networks • The famoux “six degrees of separation” theory • Small world experiment by psychologist Stanley Milgram (in the U.S., 1967) • Social structure • Individuals (or organizations) called "nodes" • Connections by one or more specific types of interdependency: friendship, kinship, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige
  • 63. Why social networks for companies? (and people) • Social networks are a tool to promote yourself or/and your company • Control what is said about you implies you control what you say • Editorial policy • Community manager
  • 64. Various tools for various audiences
  • 65. Forthcoming features • Growing interconnections between web services • Social features natively integrated in new web applications • Social search engines • 3G Services • Geolocation • Management of geocoded photos by Flickr or Moblog • Local trends in Twitter • Use of geolocation information in Google Buzz
  • 66. Conclusion
  • 67. Think “collaborative” • Share your information... • But be aware of who you share with... and what you share • Collaborative applications • Ensure interconnection between your web applications