Live Blogging from the Activity Streams Meetup

Up in San Francisco for another open spec community gathering, this one focused on working toward standardization of “activity streams,” the flow of user-generated content which is the lifeblood of the emerging Social Web. This Activity Streams Meetup is being hosted at Six Apart, with David Recordon guiding the event. As Plaxo’s Joseph Smarr tweeted, we hope this all leads to “more structured metadata in feeds”.

As usual, I’ll sprinkle in a mix of photos and observations, but not attempt to take anything approaching full notes. In addition to Six Apart, there are folks here or from Facebook, MySpace, Google, Yahoo, Plaxo, among others. That means there’s representation for projects that span DiSo, OpenSocial, Open Stack, Facebook Connect, Y!OS, MySpaceID, among others. Sweet!

Microsoft’s Dare Obasanjo has a nice post describing the problem we need to solve, entitled, Representing Rich Media and Social Network Activities in RSS/Atom Feeds. Also recommend this post from Chris Messina, Where we’re going with Activity Streams. And for more background, here’s Chris Messina’s talk on Activity Streams at the pre-holiday Open Stack Meetup:

And now, some photos of the Activity Stream Meetup:

Activity Streams Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

Lots of good discussion, trying to get everyone on the same page about the problem we’re trying to solve and what we can hope to accomplish today. As people are sharing all sorts of stuff from a rapidly growing list of services (examples just for photos: Flickr, Picasa, Smugmug, etc.). Every social network is either a webwide lifestream aggregator today (early examples: Plaxo Pulse and FriendFeed), or are becoming one quickly (examples: Facebook and MySpace). And every aggregator faces the same set of challenges that arise from the chaos of there being no standard for how to format the feed of user-shared content. No common convention for naming of objects or verbs. This is the classic problem space for the Open Stack of OpenID, OAuth, XRD, Portable Contacts, and OpenSocial.

Great to see the active participation from Luke Shepard from Facebook, who just shared some of the problems of complexity they experienced by having too much flexibility in the verb space. I think he just said “combinatorial explosion” to describe it.

Cool, just noticed that Ian Kennedy is live streaming the event via his mobile phone and Kyte. So now you can watch it so you don’t miss anything!

Chris Messina takes to the white board:

Activity Stream Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

David Recordon of SixApart, who is running the Meetup, with Joseph Smarr:

Activity Streams Meetup

Okay, now we’re about to go over a draft spec… Martin Atkins of Six Apart is now going over at high-level a review of a draft spec.

Activity Streams Meetup

Activity Streams Meetup

Now, Monica Keller of MySpace is jumping in, showing an alternative proposal and getting lots of feedback.

Discussion of reviving Media RSS vs. starting with Atom Media.

David Recordon is showing a demo of a Six Apart implementation done against the current draft spec in answer to a question from Joseph Smarr about how firm the draft feels, and whether we have any good insights from early implementations. It’s a demo of an API which transforms existing Atom and RSS feeds from sites like Flickr, Twitter, Digg, and blogs into new feeds (which can also be aggregated together) that include markup from the draft Activity Streams specifications being discussed. Along with the work from MySpace, this constitutes one of the first two implementations of the draft specification.

What a great working session! We’re two-and-a-half hours in an still going strong. Good discussion now about the importance (and complexities) of handing “friending” events, whether those are bi-directional or “follows”. Some differing thoughts here from the DiSo folks vs. the big social networks. Good sharing of insights from Facebook and Plaxo.

Activity Streams Meetup

It’s after 6:00, and we’re wrapping up. Great session. Great participation from sites large and small and from folks just looking out for the open Social Web at large.

UPDATE: Check out Marshall Kirkpatrick’s excellent piece on the event on ReadWriteWeb (which also was syndicated to the New York Times) and Marc Canter’s thoughtful post, DiSo Activity Stream Standard.

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18 thoughts on “Live Blogging from the Activity Streams Meetup

  1. Todd says:

    Please add the following machine tag to all the Flickr photos of this meeting so will see them and add them to the event page:


    Thank you.

  2. […] McCrea liveblogged the Activity Streams working session yesterday.  You might want to check out the update on all the Activity Stream work Chris Messina […]

  3. therealmccrea says:

    Todd, it looks like you or someone else beat me to it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Marc Canter says:

    Its Monica Keller dude.

    I checked with her boss.

  5. […] John MacCrea and Read/Write have already reported on it – so I’ll add my two cents from my perspective. […]

  6. therealmccrea says:

    Marc, thanks for the great post and the correction on Monica’s name!

    While we’re at it, it’s “McCrea” not “MacCrea”.🙂

  7. […] For a detailed summary of last night’s meeting on this topic and some good background links, see Comcast’s John McCrea’s liveblogging of the session. […]

  8. […] For a detailed summary of last night’s meeting on this topic and some good background links, see Comcast’s John McCrea’s liveblogging of the session. […]

  9. […] shooting of the Social Web TV by a day, so that we could discuss Thursday evening’s Activity Streams Meetup. The episode is now up, and it’s practically bursting at the seams with open Social Web […]

  10. […] Live Blogging from the Activity Streams Meetup […]

  11. […] un resumen de la reunión acerca de este tema y algunos links de antecesores vea la sesión de liveblogging de John McCrea’s de […]

  12. […] SixApart’s Motion software, and Automattic’s BuddyPress. David Recordon at SixApart is already actively involved in pushing standardization in lifestreaming with Chris Messina and others, an effort Twitter is oddly absent from. Oh, and let’s not […]

  13. […] more and more involved in the open community, attending the OpenID UX Summit last Fall and the Activity Streams meetup a few weeks ago. And Luke Shepard, from the Facebook Connect team, ran in the recent election for […]

  14. […] I’m up in SF with Joseph Smarr at Web 2.0 Expo. I shot video of Joseph’s talk this morning, which I hope to post, along with the slides, tomorrow. Now, I’m at the Activity Streams meetup, that started with lunch, but is just now getting down into the working session. MySpace has a bunch of folks here, and is helping us get organized. There are also folks from Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Plaxo, Nokia, Six Apart, and Vidoop, among others. This is a follow-on to the meetup in January, which I live-blogged then. […]

  15. […] leading the discussion. This is a really awesome event, much like ones that have come before in January and April) 2009. No invitation is necessary; anyone with a passion for an open, interoperable […]

  16. […] leading the discussion. It was a truly awesome event, much like ones that came before it in January and April 2009. No invitation was needed to attend; anyone with a passion for an open, […]

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