Online networking for the challenged

27 Aug 2007

Social networking fans in Ireland can look forward to a site catering especially for them, as John Breslin, creator of the popular portal is currently working on a platform that will combine all the spin-off functions including blogs, ‘friends’ lists, events and photo albums.

“There are a huge amount of social networks, maybe even an overabundance of them, but at the same time there isn’t any dedicated one where you know you will find things of an Irish interest,” said Breslin.

Breslin, who is also a researcher with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway, talked about how his team is developing while looking at how online communities connect – namely, through shared objects, not people.

“If you look at sites like Flickr and and so on, people are connected through photos and bookmarks and events,” he said.

In parallel with that Breslin started working at DERI three and a half years ago and was introduced to various elements of social networking by his boss Stefan Decker and began thinking about how he could apply this functionality to

He introduced a ‘friends’ function to the boards site three years ago which has led to over 15,000 links between users. With this success his team is now working on bringing this to, planning to plug the social networking site it into the existing boards user base.

A part of the design which is unique to is an interactive graph visualisation model, with the user shown at the centre and a graphical display of the offshoots of friends they are linked to., said Breslin, has been a part-time project for the five main directors of the company, himself included, but this year for the first time due to its growth and revenue the team is now actively looking for full-time staff.

There is no exact timeframe, however, for the launch of, although it is in development right now.

By Marie Boran