People to thank, blogs as an emergent social network

Meeting people and building social networks is what makes conferences like TechEd really valuable. Last week was no exception. I had the privilege of meeting and talking with quite a few nice people. Thanks to everyone on this list:

[伊藤由起子] Yukiko Ito, ZEST Inc.

[宇田豊和] Toyokazu Uda, Fuji Xerox

[柿沼雄一郎] Yuichiro Kakinuma, ITMedia

[河端善博] Yoshihiro Kawabata, SQL Server MVP (blog)

[片岡真二] Shinji Kataoka (Pegasus Laboratory)

[北端智] Satoru Kitabata

[小島紋] Aya Kojima, INETA Japan

[杉下朋年] Tomotoshi Sugishita, Visual Basic MVP (PAPA'n VB)

[鈴木祐巳] Masami Suzuki, Microsoft

[沼口繁] Shigeru Numaguchi, Microsoft

[堀田健也] Kenya Horita, ASP .Net MVP (Hollytown)

[福王寺聡明] Tomiaki Fukuoji (FooPah!)

[山崎明子] Akiko Yamazaki, NEC, presented the VB 2005 session

[優一吉原] Yuichi Yoshihara (Elfaria Development Studio.eds)

Special thanks go to Fukuoji-san, Sugishita-san, and Yoshihara-san for putting up with my horrible Japanese abilities for so long. Also to Ito-san for inviting me to TechEd and and Kawabata-san for inviting me to the Comega panel discussion.

At the TechEd 10th Anniversary party, I was introduced to a bunch of people, one of whom had drawn my likeness in character-form on a paper plate and handed it to me along with his business card. No name, just a blog: TimberLandChapel. [UPDATE: the owner is [今井 聡] Satoshi Imai--thanks for the email, and the drawing!]

There are many other cool people I met, but either I don't have their business card or I drank a little too much at the party. So, ごめんなさい!

This got me thinking a little bit (the social networking, not the drinking, although that happens sometimes too). Closed social networks such as Friendster and Orkut are exactly that: closed. And they have a tendency for major branches of their networks to die off. But blogs and blogrolls can be said to constitute an emergent, loosely defined social network owned by no one entity. In much the same way that RSS is used as a standard for publishing (allowing aggregation and subscription, among other things), wouldn't it be nice to have a standard way of describing the social relationships between two people, i.e., two blogs? This standard could facilitate back tracking, privacy permissions (see LiveJournal), and who knows what else. Perhaps it already exists?