Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Networking’s Next Level

Making it easier to make friends and influence people on the Web.
December 1, 2003

If you want to win friends and influence people, social-networking Web sites such as Friendster, Ryze, and LinkedIn can help you do it at Internet speed. These sites typically allow users to create online profiles, then build “personal networks” by linking to the profiles of friends or associates. Their friends and their friends’ friends then become potential collaborators, employers, or dates. It’s one of the hottest crazes on the Web, supplementing e-mail, blogs, and personal ads as a way to make connections.

Limiting the utility of online social networks, however, is the fact that one site’s members can’t connect with another’s, so people who want to use more than one site must build separate networks. “Being able to connect the various presences you have in cyberspace is key,” says Marc Canter, CEO of San Francisco-based Broadband Mechanics. He’s talking with Tribe.net (also of San Francisco) and other companies about building a giant network of social-networking sites that would allow users to cross site boundaries.

Essential to the project are new Web technologies such as Friend-of-a-Friend, a data-formatting scheme designed by a loose coalition of programmers and based on a language created by the Cambridge, MA-based World Wide Web Consortium. The scheme provides a standard set of labels for items of personal information such as name, title, e-mail address, place of employment, or hometown. These labels also allow users to create lists of acquaintances that can be understood and exploited by specialized search engines. Is someone you know friendly with the boss at the company where you covet a job? If your favorite networking site provides the technology, a search engine could unweave a lacework of interconnected Friend-of-a-Friend files to find the answer and get you an introduction.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

It’s time to retire the term “user”

The proliferation of AI means we need a new word.

The problem with plug-in hybrids? Their drivers.

Plug-in hybrids are often sold as a transition to EVs, but new data from Europe shows we’re still underestimating the emissions they produce.

Sam Altman says helpful agents are poised to become AI’s killer function

Open AI’s CEO says we won’t need new hardware or lots more training data to get there.

An AI startup made a hyperrealistic deepfake of me that’s so good it’s scary

Synthesia's new technology is impressive but raises big questions about a world where we increasingly can’t tell what’s real.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.