Opinion: Facebook and Google's growing power has spurred calls to decentralize the web.
NPR's Scott Simon asks Atlantic writer Taylor Lorenz about the phenomenon of teens using AirDrop to share memes and pictures with each other and, sometimes, unwitting strangers.
V unique venue. Look up reclaim hosting on YouTube. Couple of the videos are up, more should go up next few days including a particularly ranty form of me...even for me. Lots of interesting indieweb stuff that aligns w. Dweb even if not outright doing it
— Bryan ✻llendyke (@btopro) June 12, 2019
Some broad initial bibliography from the top of my head:
- The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshona Zuboff (Public Affairs)
- Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro
- Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci (Yale)
Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia)
- How to decentralize social media—a brief sketch
- Proposing a “Declaration of Digital Independence”, (WIRED 3/19)
- Version history for “Declaration of Digital Independence”
I’ve seen via personal correspondence, should be publicly available soon:
- Declaration of Digital Independence
- FAQ about the project to decentralize social media
- Social Media Strike!
Some useful history/timelines:
I’m curious if you’d publicly share your current blbliography/reading list?
Opinion: Larry Sanger, the cofounder of Wikipedia and chief information officer of Everipedia, suggests how to spark a decentralized social media movement.
The problem about social media is that it is centralized. Centralization empowers massive corporations and governments to steal our privacy and restrict our speech and autonomy.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
The social media browser plugins. Here’s the killer feature. Create at least one (could be many competing) browser plugins that enable you to (a) select feeds and then (b) display them alongside a user’s Twitter, Facebook, etc., feeds. (This could be an adaptation of Greasemonkey.) In other words, once this feature were available, you could tell your friends: “I’m not on Twitter. But if you want to see my Tweet-like posts appear in your Twitter feed, then simply install this plugin and input my feed address. You’ll see my posts pop up just as if they were on Twitter. But they’re not! And we can do this because you can control how any website appears to you from your own browser. It’s totally legal and it’s actually a really good idea.” In this way, while you might never look at Twitter or Facebook, you can stay in contact with your friends who are still there—but on your own terms. ❧
This is an intriguing idea. In particular, it would be cool if I could input my OPML file of people I’m following and have a plugin like this work with other social readers.
February 20, 2019 at 12:29PM
We can look at a later iteration of Everipedia itself as an example. Right now, there is one centralized encyclopedia: Wikipedia. With the Everipedia Network, there will be a protocol that will enable people from all over the web to participate in a much broader project. ❧
As I look at this, I can’t help think about my desire to want to be able to link to a wiki in a post and have a Webmention added to that post’s “See Also” or reference section. With the link automatically added to the wiki’s page like this, future readers and editors could have access to my original and could potentially synopsize and include details from my post into the wiki’s article.
February 20, 2019 at 12:41PM
But how do we make it happen? ❧
Larry, I caught your Twitter conversation with Aaron Parecki earlier about IndieWeb. I’ve added a lot of the open specs he referenced to my own WordPress website with a handful of plugins and would be happy to help you do the same if you like. I think that with some of the IndieWeb tools, it’s always even more impressive if you can see them in action using something you’re already regularly using.
If nothing else, it’ll give you some direct experience with how the decentralized nature of how these things work. I’m posting my reply to you own my own site and manually syndicating the reply (since you don’t yet support webmention, one of the protocols) which will give at least some idea of how it all works.
If you’re curious about how you could apply it to your own WordPress site, I’ve collected some research, articles and experiments specific to my experience here: https://boffosocko.com/research/indieweb/
February 20, 2019 at 12:46PM
The feed readers. Just as the RSS standard spawned lots of “reader” and “aggregator” software, so there should be similar feed readers for the various data standards described in (1) and the publishers described in (2). While publishers might have built-in readers (as the social media giants all do), the publishing and reading feature sets need to be kept independent, if you want a completely decentralized system. ❧
I’ve outlined a bit about how feed readers could be slighly modified to do some of this in the past: https://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/how-feed-readers-can-grow-market-share-and-take-over-social-media/
February 20, 2019 at 12:47PM
Every year Mark Zuckerberg sets a "challenge" for himself for that year, which as many people have noted, Facebook has turned into a big PR vehicle for the company. We usually don't even bother to write about it, because why bother?...
Do we want technology to keep giving more people a voice, or will traditional gatekeepers control what ideas can be expressed? ❧
Part of the unstated problem here is that Facebook has supplanted the “traditional gatekeepers” and their black box feed algorithm is now the gatekeeper which decides what people in the network either see or don’t see. Things that crazy people used to decry to a non-listening crowd in the town commons are now blasted from the rooftops, spread far and wide by Facebook’s algorithm, and can potentially sway major elections.
I hope they talk about this.
Of course going the direction of old school blogs and following those who comment on your own site has historically been a quick way to build a network. I’m also reminded of Colin Walker’s directory which creates a blogroll of sorts by making a list of websites that have webmentioned his own. Webrings are also an interesting possibility for topic-related community building.
Since Tumblr is unlikely to shut down immediately, those effected could easily add their personal websites to their bios to help transition their followerships to feed readers or other methods for following and reading.
Of course the important thing in the near term is to spend a moment downloading and backing up one’s content just in case.
It also sounds very much like Kevin Marks’ Distributed Verification scheme using the rel=”me” attribute on web pages for which he built a chrome browser extension to actually implement it. Kevin also recently reported that Mastodon now actually supports this verification scheme in one of their most recent updates which should be used by instances that are regularly updating. The benefit is that this scheme already exists, is relatively well supported, there are parsers available for it, and it’s actually working on the open web. It’s also truly distributed in that it doesn’t rely on any central provisioning authorities that require ongoing maintenance or which could provide a monopoly on such a service.
Wpvie Friends This is the presentation I held yesterday, November 7, 2018, at the WordPress Meetup Vienna about the Friends Plugin. I created this presentation with Deckset which allows to generate the presentation from a Markdown file.
Over the past year, I've been working on the side on a WordPress plugin that implements an idea that has been growing in me over the last couple of years. Decentralized Social Networking. The plugin that does it is called Friends. Starting with the frustration that there are few alternatives for pe...
Go indie, go punk, call it web, notice the good support, and offer an alternative to the old-school, advertising-based, closed internet.
This is a start to more fully describe and explore a distributed version of digitisation, digitalisation and specifically digital transformation, and state why I think bringing distributed / networked thinking into them matters. Digitising stuff, digitalising routines, the regular way Over the past ...
We need to learn to see the cumulative impact of a multitude of efforts, while simultaneously keeping all those efforts visible on their own. There exist so many initiatives I think that are great examples of how distributed digitalisation leads to transformation, but they are largely invisible outside their own context, and also not widely networked and connected enough to reach their own full potential. They are valuable on their own, but would be even more valuable to themselves and others when federated, but the federation part is mostly missing.
We need to find a better way to see the big picture, while also seeing all pixels it consists of. A macroscope, a distributed digital transformation macroscope. ❧