After nearly two decades of fighting for this vision of the internet, the people who believed in federation feel like they’re finally going to win. The change they imagine still requires a lot of user education — and a lot of work to make this stuff work for users. But the fundamental shift, from platforms to protocols, appears to have momentum in a way it never has before.
Our smarter, richer betters (in Babel times, the king’s name was Nimrod) often preach the idea of a town square, a marketplace of ideas, a centralized hub of discourse and entertainment—and we listen. But when I go back and read Genesis, I hear God saying: “My children, I designed your brains to scale to 150 stable relationships. Anything beyond that is overclocking. You should all try Mastodon.”
So many gems in this piece by Paul Ford:
The Fediverse apps are all built on a set of rules called the ActivityPub standard, which is a little like HTML had sex with a calendar invite. It’s a content polycule. The questions it evokes are the same as with any polycule: What are the rules? How big can this get? Who will create the chore chart?
Mastodon is not a platform. Mastodon is just a tiny part of a concept many have been dreaming about and working on for years. Social media started on the wrong foot. The idea for the read/write web has always been different. Our digital identities weren’t supposed to end up in something like Twitter or Facebook or Instagram.
Decentralisation, Federation, The Indie Web: There were many groups silently working on solving the broken architecture of our digital social networks and communication channels – long, long before the “web 3” dudes tried to reframe it as their genius new idea.
I’ve been a part of this for many years until I gave up hope. How would you compete against the VC money, the technical and economical benefits of centralised platforms? It was a fight between David and Gloiath. But now Mastodon could be the stone.
Pluralistic: Better failure for social media (19 Dec 2022) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow
Mastodon has gotten two things right that no other social media giant has even seriously attempted:
- If you follow someone on Mastodon, you’ll see everything they post; and
- If you leave a Mastodon server, you can take both your followers and the people you follow with you.
The most common criticism of Mastodon is that you must rely on individual moderators who may be underresourced, incompetent on malicious. This is indeed a serious problem, but it isn’t the same serious problem that Twitter has. When Twitter is incompetent, malicious, or underresourced, your departure comes at a dear price.
On Mastodon, your choice is: tolerate bad moderation, or click two links and move somewhere else.
On Twitter, your choice is: tolerate moderation, or lose contact with all the people you care about and all the people who care about you.
What web development can learn from the Nintendo Game and Watch.
The Web now consists of an ever-growing number of different frameworks, methodologies, screen sizes, devices, browsers, and connection speeds. “Lateral thinking with withered technology” – progressively enhanced – might actually be an ideal philosophy for building accessible, performant, resilient, and original experiences for a wide audience of users on the Web.
Ben has written a superb article outlining the hows and whys of distributed social networks with hCard and XFN, finishing with an inspiring call to arms.
As promised by Kevin Marks in the Q&A after my panel at South by Southwest, the Google Contacts API now supports OAuth. w00t!
Liveblogged notes from a discussion I participated in at BarCamp Brighton 2 about Social Network Portability.
A nice summary of the technologies presented at my SXSW panel.
Chris interviews himself about portable social networks and distributed identity.
TIm Berners-Lee explains what the "graph" part of "social graph" means. I'm still not keen on the term but I really love the idea (although I also disagree about the building blocks required today).
Brian's article on portable social networks is a clear and concise introduction to the subject with explanations of the technologies involved.
A new site to track the building blocks of portable social networks: OpenID, OAuth, hCard, XFN and more.
David Recordon announces a new developer tool for tracking status changes on social networking sites.
Brian Oberkirch's presentation from Webmaster Jam looks excellent.
Six Apart are getting ready to make portable social networks a reality. Watch this space for code.
Dan is claiming that these notebooks could be moleskin killers. I am intrigued and I do like the nice use of Futura.
Cameron's plea for social network transparency and portability is one of the most lucid and succinct yet.