Coming Full Circle?

October 31st, 2022

A lot of people are wondering what to do. Twitter may have run its course, as its new Chief Twat flexes his tailfeathers early on, and the idea of a centralized social communication platform loses its shine.

Many have already sought refuge in the Mastodon fediverse – a federated network of twitter-like servers that approximates the familiar experience. Not wanting to miss the chance to reserve my preferred handle, you can find me there as @bashley@nerd.megahuge.com.

Others are waiting to see what comes of Jack Dorsey’s BlueSky social internet initiative with its AT protocol. In the long term, a shift in focus from platforms to protocols is the right technological direction, as best expressed in Mike Masnick’s great essay Protocols not Platforms.

Let’s not all forget, in the rush to find something shiny and new, that there is a mature, robust engine of distributed federation with a 23 and a half year patina of trustworthiness called RSS. If Google hadn’t killed their RSS reader 10 years ago and seriously affected its momentum, it may well have remained the prime way to propagate social information and connections. It’s not too late for a resurgence – don’t underestimate the power of simplicity.

I recommend you start using a newsreader (I use NewsBlur) and start subscribing to feeds. There’s no better place for leading edge information on RSS than Dave Winer’s Scripting.com, so I recommend that as your first subscription. Oh, and mine, too.

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