Peter Reavy

The future of social media

Posted in Uncategorized by Peter Reavy on July 16, 2012

I have a lot of random thoughts about social media and where it could go and I’m going to put them all down here. This post is going to be utopian and probably wrong but I’m putting it up now so I can think about it more.

Social media needs to be based on standards and standards that we already have. For private social media there’s got to be some mileage in an email client that just happens to look like Facebook but let’s concentrate on public social media and propose RSS.

It should be decentralised and peer-to-peer.

Dave Winer is on the right track with EC2 For Poets but let’s be utopian. Let’s not rely on the cloud, let’s rely on the potential servers which people are already carrying around in their pockets.

Let’s imagine everyone had have a phone with an app that does what would currently be done by 3 pieces of software::

* A web server hosting a blog/timeline/status stream. Web servers on phones already exist. kWS Pro supports dynamic DNS. Connectivity is going to be an issue but let’s be utopian.

The web server has a simple interface allowing the phone user to create a new post as quickly as sending a new text message. Every post is published statically to the SD card.

* An RSS reader. RSS readers on phones already exist.

The RSS reader just looks like a Twitter timeline but filled with the friends you’re following.

People today don’t know how to find RSS feeds. How are they going to find the blogs their friends are hosting on their phones? Perhaps by using the email address as some kind of lookup? This was what WebFinger was meant to solve.

The app can scan your contacts book and see whose blog is up and running. No data goes back anywhere central.

* The most utopian bit. A web crawler building a personal list of web trends. It learns from what you post and what your friends post. But it does not send this back anywhere. We may need more powerful phones.

Combine these 3 into one piece of free and open source software. But someone puts this up on the app stores where it can be downloaded for nothing.

The elements of completely decentralised social media seem like to me like they already exist. What am I missing?