100 CEO blogs, LinkedIn and FOAF

The CEOs of the Red Herring 100 have all been invited to blog as part of the the Red Herring Spring Eventspace. You can go directly to a list of the blogs in a drop-down menu or list of hyperlinks.

This is a great concept, and could be pretty intriguing. The blogs are open for participation to the public, so you can post and have public dialog with the CEOs of these companies.

The real question, though, is what kind of participation it will get from the CEOs themselves. The site’s been up for about four days, and so far, there are a whole lot of questions and not many answers. In fact, the only CEO response I could find so far was LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman’s response to Marc Canter’s challenge about LinkedIn supporting FOAF:

I guess here’s the short-hand: we’ll add FOAF when it seems to be the next most important feature to add in our list. And, not seeing an immediate application for it (we have two years of features to build, all of which have immediate application), I’m not certain it’s any time in the near future.

Good answer. Stay focused on what your users are asking for. I know LinkedIn has a long list of those things — I’ve sent in quite a few myself.

Canter counters in his own inimitable style on his blog:

So dude – you know I love yah – right? But your answer is [bleep]. It takes no time to implement FOAF and it provides a basic, compelling solution that all humans (read: end-users and/or customers) need.

Why don’t you just say why you really don’t wanna support FOAF? Come on – be a man about it.

By locking all your customers into LinkedIn – they’re YOUR customers – mwah hah hah hah hah!

I can really see both sides on this one. Would it be more convenient for me for LinkedIn to support FOAF? Absolutely. I’d love to not have to port my profile from one network to the next, and, at least in theory, ditto for my relationships.

Here’s the problem, though, Marc — my relationships on LinkedIn are NOT the same as my relationships on Ryze are NOT the same as my relationships on Ecademy are NOT the same as my relationships on Tribe, etc.

On Ecademy, being “connected” just means that we’ve exchanged private messages. On LinkedIn, it means that there’s been a confirmation of a trusted relationship. Someone who I would count as a friend on Ryze, I wouldn’t necessarily list as a connection on LinkedIn. Who I’m willing to make an electronic record of my relationship with DOES depend on the context in which that relationship is going to be used.

Furthermore, as big a supporter of openness as I am, I recognize that not everyone wants to make all their relationships public. Having an open FOAF file is fraught with the potential for abuse. For someone with absolutely no boundaries between personal and professional spheres of your life, that may work. It won’t play in Poughkeepsie. I support the basic concept of interoperability, but it’s going to take a standard with more granular security control than FOAF to garner widespread adoption.