Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Social Semantic Web and SIOC

The Social Web is contributing to an acceleration of content creation that once again threatens to overwhelm us. Semantic Web technologies offer a way to greatly increase the value of this content while relieving the overwhelm.

For example, Twitter users often stop following people when they can't keep up with reading their streams. Reading streams directly is a first-generation activity; soon our applications will help read and organize the streams for us. Think Google Priority Inbox for tweets.

Sorting tweets is only the beginning. As our applications better understand the content of the Social Web, they will automatically link content relevant to our current context. Think Google AdSense for your to do list, where the content of the "ads" is advice and links from your network related to what you're working on right now. This is an aspect of what I call Social Tasking.

One part of the solution involves the use of ontologies, and one of the ontologies that may help is SIOC: Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities. The vision of the SIOC project is that...

combining Semantic Web technologies and social media paradigms will lead to "Social Semantic Information Spaces", where information is socially created and maintained as well as being interlinked and machine-understandable, leading to new ways to discover information on the Web.

To enable a model for interoperability and portability among social data services, SIOC reuses portions of FOAF (friend of a friend) and Dublin Core ontologies.

The SIOC project models social data on the Web using semantic technologies.

Interoperability among services is a start. Other semantic technologies are being developed to resolve the meaning of tags and to put more control in the hands of users. More on that later.

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