Since I've seen a lot of demand for FOAF from orkut, I thought I'd post a message to my friends on the site, a lot of whom are semantic webbers. This is the post I made to my Friends of Friends network on orkut - a message that got sent out to 750+ people.
If you are part of any large social site, you may want to do the same thing. Pass the message along - increasing the size of the semantic web is a goal not just for geeks, but for everyone.
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to: friends of friends
subject: LiveJournal FOAF
message: I know this won't be applicable to all of you, but a fair number of people will probably be interested in this.
LiveJournal now exports FOAF data, including foaf:interests, foaf:knows, and contact information. It's exported for every user at http://www.livejournal.com/users/username/data/foaf
. Discussion of the LiveJournal FOAF files can take place in a community I maintain - http://www.livejournal.com/community/ljfoaf
. If you're interested in FOAF, that's the place to come to discuss it.
For those of you who don't know what FOAF is, it's the "Friend of a Friend" project - http://www.foaf-project.org
. This project is geared towards making your relationships with other people machine readable.
FOAF is a way to describe yourself, and your relationships with other people. Orkut is a prime example of a site that could export FOAF data - your contact information, which you choose to display, could be displayed in an exportable format.
Some people might ask "What's the point?" The point of FOAF is to allow machines to look through people, find information that you might be interested in about that person, and deliver it to you.
Perhaps I'm interested in other people that are friends of my friends who live near O'Hare airport - I'm looking for a ride. So, I put in my FOAF file, which defines my friends, and tell it to search for "basedNear" codes of O'Hare airport. By using FOAF, it could expand out, find friends of friends, and give you back contact information for them.
The tools to do this thing need larger base data to advance. We need to be able to describe ourselves in a way that computers can understand in order to make better our interactions. This is the purpose of the semantic web - and LiveJournal is working to start it off.
Orkut can help too. Tell orkut today that you want FOAF data exported. Let them know you want to see machines talking to each other. In the end, you may be helping to start something big.