Modeling Online Presence
With the appearance of instant messaging (IM) tools and Social Web sites, most notably Social Networks, Internet faced a proliferation of social activities among users. On a typical service that offers some form of social interactions, users present themselves to their contacts by maintaining user profiles. Services that favor direct and frequent communication tend to include descriptions of user's temporary state in the profile. By the elements of temporary state, we mean primarily custom messages on IM platforms and social networks, as well as description of availability/willingness to chat. Often, visual representations known as avatars are used to depict user's online persona.
In fact, if we look at the activity of maintaining this dynamic kind of user profiles, that activity is no more than creating an image of one self's presence in the online world, a representation how one wishes to be seen by his/her contacts. The use of custom messages, IM statuses and avatars became a common way for users to make known the character of their presence on some online service and in the online world in general (we shall call it Online Presence).
It is important to distinguish the nature and purpose of User Modeling and static user profiles dealing mostly with persistent characteristics of a user, from the nature and purpose of Online Presence that deals with dynamic and changeable characteristics that are related to user's current appearance in the online world.
The aim of Modeling Online Presence is to enable the integration and exchange of Online Presence related data. For this purpose the project provides a Semantic Web ontology (OPO) for representing rich data about Online Presence in RDF.
The possibility to integrate and exchange Online Presence data represents one of the prerequisites for the goal to release the Online Presence data from bounds to one particular service (e.g., a particual IM platform or social network) and give users the possibility to easily transfer their Online Presence data from one service to another.
Our work on Online Presence, combined with community comments, results in constant improvements of the OPO model. Thus, current version provides a way to define different presence information (status message, availability, etc.) for different audiences.
- A presentation about OPO and the current work in progress slides
- Nodalities blog post: link
- Stankovic M., Modeling Online Presence in Bizer C. and Anupam J., Proceedings of the Poster and Demonstration Session at the 7th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2008) Karlsruhe, Germany, October 28, 2008. pdf
- ISWC2008 poster: jpg (many thanks to Uros!)
- Milan Stankovic: Modeling Online Presence. In: Proceedings of the First Social Data on the Web Workshop, Karlsruhe, Germany, October 27, 2008, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, ISSN 1613-0073, online pdf
See Also: Publications.
What's been keeping us busy
The Online Presence Project is a work in progress.
We are working on plugins for some social networks, IM applications etc. that will implement the OPO data exchange.
We are working on a microblogging client that will support Online Presence metadata publishing, as well as having different presence appearance for different audiences. The work is based on a user study that will be published soon.
You are welcome to contribute to the project by building your own tools/ontologies - do not hesitate to contact us.