XFN for Social Networking

I am tired of joining silly social software systems and I don’t want to answer any more dumb questions about myself. If the web is so smart, why are we always repeating ourselves? On the other hand, I am excited about the possibilities for social networking through the media I already maintain. Like my blog.

Give me some time and my blog will be Xfn-Btn.

XFN (XHTML Friends Network) seems to be a good system of adding meta tags to our existing links of friends or blogrolls. If I had the time, I could go through my lists of friends and add these tags. The XFN site shows how to add the code to our personal hyperlinks.

Even better – it appears that the impending release of WordPress 2.0 has in-built support for XFN. John Loppnow gives  "10 Things You Should Know About WordPress 2.0" including:

6. Use WordPress for Social Networking –

There are probably a thousand social networking tools out there – many of which have plugins for WordPress available to them. Someof these are Flickr , del.icio.us or Digg. However, WordPress has built-in integration with such a tool in that allows search engines understand your relationships with other bloggers. It is called the XFN (XHTML Friends Network). XFN allows bloggers to establish links in their link manager (blogroll) as “friend”, “co-worker” or “crush” among others. It even allows you to designate whether you’ve physically met the person.

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • John Loppnow says:

    How do you keep up?
    I appreciate the post on my blog. Its an honor.
    Got any good book / article recommendations regarding the Kingdom of God?

  • andrew says:

    john … since you found this 15 minutes after it was posted . . i suspect that you keep up the same way i do . . . a technorati watchlist of key words that feeds my RSS reader . . . and you probably used the word “emerging” in your post.
    its a fast world, isnt it?
    a wicked-killer book on the Kingdom of God, that I think every believer in Christ worth his or her salt should read is
    Announcing the Kingdom by Arthur Glasser.

  • Steve Bufton says:

    Even better: WordPress 1.5 already has XFN support!

  • andrew says:

    i am tempted to start a wordpress blog just for the fun of it

  • Yes, WordPress has XFN-Support in the link management. WordPress is pretty impressiv. I’ve done my diploma implementation and the coming Doxology website with WordPress because it’s so flexbile. You should definitly give it a try. You can start at wordpress.com and get a hosted account. If you want to install it on your own webspace I recommend waiting a few days until WordPress 2.0 is released and fixed. But be warned, all the opportunities come at the price of a lot of time.

  • And while we’re on the topic, Technorati recognises WordPress categories as tags so that you don’t even have to add special tags in ecto.

  • andrew says:

    ahhhhh . . .
    keep talkin’ . . u might convert me

  • Nate Custer says:

    this is the first I have heard of XFN, however I am sad to see YAXF (Yet Another XML Format) being spread. Distributed social networking has been around since 2002 with FOAF (Friend of a Friend) its a Edd Dumbill wrote a great article on it back then.
    Last year six apart built foaf into typepad people lists.
    If I understand that correctly then, Andrew you have already created FOAF files.
    Now if we could just migrate flckr tags to foaf, the foafbot photo demo is pretty cool.

  • Peter says:

    I appreciate your posts and I included your blog in a list of recommended blogs. Thanks

  • Hey Nate, there is a difference between XFN and FOAF. XFN is sort of a microformat enhancing links to make them more semantically readable and usable. So it is not YAXF. FOAF is indeed an XML file which contains information about you and your network of friends.

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