Blogmesh aims to make blogging more social, and in doing so create an alternative for existing social networks. The main idea is to connect existing blogs in a way that resembles other social networks, like Twitter. Simply follow your friends and see a timeline of their updates.
Because blogs are usually self-hosted, this means Blogmesh has the potential to become a decentralized network that belongs to its users, and where every user owns their own content.
Blogmesh uses existing, well-established standards like RSS. This means that many existing sites are already Blogmesh-ready.
I ran across a reference to Blogmesh this morning via the Twitter hashtag for #IndieWeb. (hat tip to @Bjorn_W)
Hi @simonw remember blogmesh? my friend @roytanck behind blogmesh made this https://t.co/wMPe5tQpVC to show how to re-blog. This proof-of-concept uses WordPress. It’s super easy to re-create the social aspects of walled garden social media with RSS & #WordPress #Openweb #indieweb
— Bjorn W (@Bjorn_W) August 21, 2018
Blogmesh looks like an intriguing concept, and on its face it sounds like it’s in a tangential space to Alex Kirk‘s Friends plugin, which allows private connections to friends via WordPress, or even to PressForward, which is a very full featured RSS plugin for WordPress. It almost sounds like a version of Jack Jamieson‘s original Yarns reader which integrates a feed reader with micropub capabilities into one’s WordPress site, but perhaps may not be as powerful as Jamieson’s pending rewrite of Yarns as a Microsub server.
Clicking a post from a friend will take you to their blog, where you can read the full post and leave comments.
While this may be an interesting concept, it isn’t adding much to the broader IndieWeb stack of technologies which are already in place for WordPress. I don’t imagine greater power with this compared to the Micropub spec which might allow me to write a reply within the reader portion of the plugin, publish it to my website and then send a Webmention to the other site the way the coming wave of Microsub servers and reader interfaces will allow. 1
While Blogmesh seems like a relatively solid solution and may fix a few UI issues for some, it doesn’t seem like as robust or decentralized a solution as Microsub, which I think has more promise and which almost any website (WordPress or otherwise) could support. This being said, I also suspect that Roy likely has a much broader vision for the plugin’s functionality that hasn’t yet been stated. It always impresses me the ingenuity and work that people are putting in to fix the problems that exist with current social media and this case is certainly squarely in that category.
I will say that it appears that Roy’s user interface is very solid–I wish there were more WordPress IndieWeb contributors with these kinds of design chops.
The repost functionality which Bjorn W highlights is very cool looking and quite intuitive. It has a simple, but intuitive user interface. However, it isn’t very different from David Shanske‘s solution for reposting content to one’s website using the Post Kinds Plugin. In this case, Post Kinds is even more powerful because it also includes a lot more social post types and can also be easily dovetailed with Webmention and Micropub for broader decentralized social interaction.
I’ve bookmarked the Github repository for Blogmesh and look forward to seeing what develops. I’ve also helped to stub some of Blogmesh on the IndieWeb wiki. I’d love to hear what others think of it if they try it out. I’m blocking some time for the weekend to add it to a WordPress instance I’ve already spun up to test it out.