OccupyWallStreet wants an alternative Facebook

Activists associated with the rapidly evolving OccupyWallStreet (OWS) movement have kicked off an initiative to redefine social networking for a new age of global protest.

According to web and mobile app developer Ed Knutson, the new tech could go well beyond OWS to help create more distributed social networks, optimize online business collaboration and perhaps even help make the concept of a semantic web a reality.

”I don’t want to say we’re making our own Facebook. But, we’re making our own Facebook,” Knutson told Wired.

“[Frankly], we don’t want to trust Facebook with private messages among activists.”

OWS supporter and web dev Sam Boyer expressed similar sentiments. 

“Those networks [like Facebook and Twitter] will be perfectly fine – until they are not. And it will be a one-day-to-the-next thing.”

So how does the OWS version of social networking differ from Facebook? 

Well, the project – tentatively dubbed Federated General Assembly (FGA) – will eventually comprise multiple interlinked social networks across the globe. 
It is expected to rely on Open ID and OAuth protocols, allowing users to sign into one OWS network and participate on multiple satellite sites.

Unsurprisingly, t
he initiative is also striving to differentiate itself from the “me” narcissism typically associated with Facebook by placing a strong emphasis on working groups.

Last, but certainly not least, FGA is envisioned as a platform that will allow the free flow of data between disparate systems via shared tags under the auspices of a Resource Description Framework (RDF). 

Meaning, RDF could theoretically allow sites to work together even if they are powered by different content management software such as Drupal, Joomla or WordPress.

“The handoff point is that everything goes through RDF… You don’t care if they have a Drupal site or some kind of Frankenstein combination of different stuff,” Knutson added.