The IndieWeb and the Time Well Spent movements both have valid concerns around today’s social media landscape. The social media, today, is:

– Wildly commercial; serving the advertisers’ interests at the expense of consumers’ valuable time and attention.

– Prone to surveillance pressure from governments, e.g. PRISM

– Vulnerable to censorship.

Since the early 2000s, we’ve come a long way with new forms of social media. It all started with blogging. Then we’ve seen several object-centered sociality tools such as Flickr, Youtube and Twitter pop up, while at the same time, a number of multi-dimensional social networks like Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn came to prominence and burst. read more

Steeming ahead

Blockchain is one of the most intriguing technologies out there in 2017, in no small part due to its open nature. Open in the sense that there’s a lot of open source work happening (in particular, its two largest projects: Bitcoin and Ethereum). But also ‘open’ in the sense that blockchain is the epitome of a decentralized platform. For this reason, many see blockchain as a potentially huge disrupting force on the Internet. Think about what a decentralized eBay, or a decentralized Uber, would mean for the economy. Essentially, a blockchain version of eBay or Uber cuts out the middleman – meaning the buyer/passenger gets to liaise directly with the seller/driver. read more

feedreaders

In my continuing 2017 project to IndieWebify my website, so far I’ve upgraded my WordPress site with IndieWeb plugins and then installed a blogroll. I also began to explore what the indie blogosphere is like nowadays. Not that I ever really left the blogosphere, but – like most people – much of my attention had drifted to social media over the past several years. So I wanted to re-engage with blogs in 2017 and subscribe to a bunch of new people. For that I needed a capable, IndieWeb-friendly feed reader. read more

There’s been a lot of talk about ICOs (initial coin offerings, named after IPO) in recent weeks, fueled by a number of companies you’ve never heard of raising ridiculous amounts of money. Status, reported to have raised $64MM; Bancor, another $153MM -a record in ICO history-; and a company, at least I’ve heard once or twice before, Kik‘s announcement of an upcoming ICO at the Techcrunch event — all in one week.

According to the ICO aggregator Smith-Crown, more than $290MM has been spent in such token sale transactions over the past two years. Which cumulatively raise suggestions as to ICO may be the new VC. read more

Mastodon

Let’s get this out of the way right at the start: Mastodon is not a Twitter killer. It’s more like Twitter crossed with Reddit, plus it’s open source. But while Mastodon is not going to take over the world, it does have promise as a community platform. Here’s why…

I first came across Mastodon in early April, via a Vice article. It was described as “a kinder, nicer, decentralized open source version of Twitter.” Curious to see what the fuss was about, I jumped over to Mastodon to check it out. I immediately came across its first quirk: Mastodon isn’t one single social network, like Twitter. Instead it’s made up of multiple “instances,” each one hosted on a different server. Indeed the most popular instance, Mastodon.social, wasn’t accepting new users when I arrived – due to its sudden ascension to Internet fame. So I had to sign up with another instance, in this case Mastodon.technology. read more

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.

Likes

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. read more

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.

Micro.blog

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. read more