20140927/Decentralized social networking

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Today's academic open annotation systems, with cat pics, on a decentralized basis, is what a worthwhile breakthrough in social networking will look like.

  1. An open source basis. Maybe you don't care, but your nerd friends do, for important reasons.
  2. Based on a core decentralized protocol so anyone can pop up an instance.
  3. It treats your content, even cat pics, as long term topics that can be constantly cultivated, and links with an academic approach.
  4. It has wiki like features:
    1. You can easily see how posts are created in a culture of constantly accessible knowledge and technique.
    2. You can easily track changes at a fine level across content.

Any other approach is just tricking, a veneer.

PeerLibrary is an example of an open annotation system. While it's situated in the academic world, there's nothing really different between it and Facebook except a colour scheme and a lot of marketing. PeerLibrary features a protocol that allows exchanging content between systems, something Facebook only offers in a limited way with their Social Graph.

The breakthroughs with decentralized social networking are cost and control. It costs a lot to run Facebook, maybe the equivalent of one major server and admin for every few thousand people. Today BitTorrent networks share files at a large scale. Take the enthusiasm for file sharing (which is largely about individuals creating powerful sharing servers to participate in the global network) and turn it to sharing social networks, and the hardware and admin costs become a fun hobby for enthusiasts. Add a protocol that reliably distributes your content amongst instances, as well as allowing you to easily keep an up to date repository for backup and processing, including secured content.

The basis of the system itself is just like the Internet. It IS the internet. You can combine elements from multiple sites on any Web page. And a side effect is people will pay attention to their privacy on each of those sites.

I strongly believe solving this problem, moving away from an omniscient central network to a robust decentralized one, and not treating people like dummies but instead like social animals who like organizing and sharing their diverse interests and personalities, and not accepting invasion of privacy and commercialization for every answer, will lead to a more intelligent and responsive society.


Blikied on September 27, 2014