What is the Augmented Social Network?

Could the next generation of online communications strengthen civil society by better connecting people to others with whom they share affinities, so they can more effectively exchange information and self-organize? Could such a system help to revitalize democracy in the 21st century?

The Augmented Social Network is a proposal for a "next generation" online community that would strengthen the collaborative nature of the Internet, enhancing its ability to act as a public commons that engages citizens in civil society. The ASN creates an infrastructure for trusted relationships across the entire Internet -- enabling innovation in democratic governance, alternative economics, and social organization of all kinds. The ASN is not a piece of software or a website. Rather, it is an online community system in the public interest that could be implemented in a number of ways, using technology that largely exists today. The ASN is a system designed to help you find others with whom you share affinities so you can be introduced to them (in an appropriate manner), and then share media with them, or form groups based on shared interests. Importantly, the ASN would facilitate this by connecting people across traditional social, geographic, or technical boundaries. It takes the positive power of the Internet today one step further.

Like the Web or email, the ASN would be available to anyone. It would become a common part of the Internet infrastructure – a person-centered and group-centered service of the net. It will be implemented through the widespread adoption of technical protocols; any online community infrastructure could choose to be part of the ASN by implementing them. Central to its design are fundamental principles of openness, inclusivity, and decentralization -- which are necessary for a thriving democracy. At the same time, the ASN would support the highest available forms of security to protect privacy.


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