Distributed Social Networking, one day soon?

WordCamp 2011 Bulgaria

This has to be the ultimate standing in social networking. Distributed social networking is going to happen at some point but in the meanwhile, we all have to put up with these crappy social networks.

I read a few things recently which got me thinking about this again… The main one centres around this read write web piece.

The prospect of a distributed, interoperable, self-hosted network of publishing, reading and discussion tools is nothing new – but the idea is gaining a lot more support as more people react to recent news like FriendFeed’s sale to FacebookTr.im’s up and down and Twitter’s denial of service attacks. The tide may not be turning, but there’s sure to be some new waves of innovation that come out of this period of frustration.

The one which got me writing is the WordPress.com ability to do real-time blogging

Jabber (XMPP) is an open instant messaging protocol used by millions of people daily. At WordPress.com we use Jabber to instantly deliver new blog posts and comments to subscribers.

It for me is very intriguing… Its a lot more like how Jaiku use to be (I actually wonder what happened to jaiku engine?). The WordPress ability is nice but if they bring the same idea to self hosted wordpress blogs too, now that would be amazing…

Diso the project all about this went quiet back in 2010 it seems, which is a shame.

I fear Matt Mullenweg the great guy that he is, may not be able to provide the ultimate standing. The im.wordpress relies on wordpress.com too much for my liking. It would be great if there was a way to do most of the piping through other distributed means. I’d also love to see the ability to post comments/feedback through im? And why not? You got the persons details, and you can subscribe to the comments, why not replies?

Matt had to said recently in GigaOM

The Internet needs a strong, independent platform for those of us who don’t want to be at the mercy of someone else’s domain. I like to think that if we didn’t create WordPress something else that looks a lot like it would exist. I think Open Source is kind of like our Bill of Rights. It’s our Constitution. If we’re not true to that, nothing else matters.

The independent web is growing quite a bit. Although we have these great cloud servers for WordPress, the software that people run and install themselves is still as popular as ever. Our services are bringing more people online, but they’re also bringing more people who want to own their own space on the web–they want to own a house instead of rent an apartment. When we were first starting out, I thought, “Downloading and uploading software, managing databases, no one wants to do that.” But it turns out, a lot of people do.

Lets hope he follows through on that thinking…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.