There’s a good reason for the “@“ character in the middle of your email address. It separates the two parts: your user name and your web site. Someday you might see something similar on social networking sites – Mark Zuckerberg could write on Facebook and mention Jack Dorsey “hey email@example.com” and Jack could write back from Twitter “hi firstname.lastname@example.org!” — that would be the Silicon Valley equivalent of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson’s first telephone call. When small social networks like Twitter and Google Plus start to interoperate with open source networks and blogs, they could eventually form a large enough base of users to “flip the iceberg” and have more usage than the dominant, non-interoperable player: Facebook.
Author: Brian Hendrickson
As we grow more comfortable with social networking, we are learning to create multiple networks of friends. We can find people to follow on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter – there is a seemingly endless supply of new places to connect. Some of these use actual open web infrastructure to spread data and control to the edges and form a true network, while others take a hybrid approach. Micro-blogging at Mastodon is an example of a true network where friends are made between Web sites. Micro.blog and WordPress publish their feeds to the open web but require a feed reader if you want to aggregate feeds from friends on multiple networks. Slack alternatives like Matrix, Rocket Chat and Mattermost support fully private, real networks.
We now know that just a few “Likes” gives advertisers enough data to very accurately target advertising. Now, alternatives to traditional social networks are popping up to serve the needs of a more discriminating crowd of social networkers.
Back in 2009, Facebook bought FriendFeed, which had created the first “Likes.” Just liking a few things creates a very accurate picture about how we might vote or spend money. But a “Like” doesn’t have to be trapped within one Web site. I follow a lot of friends’ blogs with my iPhone’s Feed Reader and some of my #indieweb inventor friends publish their Likes as stories in their feeds. Many kinds of social objects can be transmitted through feeds such as calendar events, tagged people, location check-ins.
People love sharing on the internet and the technology is always evolving. Enthusiasts recently flocked to Kickstarter to back a new blogging tool, Micro.blog, RSS and podcasting pioneer Dave Winer released a new open source app, 1999.io, and the old bones of micro-blogging phenom identi.ca are back in the form of Mastodon.social. Meanwhile, the W3C released ActivityPub and WebMention to tie social networking sites together.
My friend Rick Turoczy helped ignite the tech start-up scene in Portland, Oregon and he recently clued me in to a KickStarter for micro-blogging. He knew I’d been quoted in Wired about micro-blogging, published an open source micro-blog and passed a W3C-sponsored contest to create a decentralized photo-tagging feature. Micro.blog has an elegant iOS app, an active Slack forum, a discovery feature to find people to follow, and a paid employee in charge of moderation. It’s off to a promising start.