This week I’m saying goodbye to an old network as App.net is shutting down.
I joined App.net back in 2012 with the promise of a social network with a different business model from Twitter. It was a service focused on benefiting developers and users who were willing to pay for a better experience rather than advertisers and data mining. Unfortunately that idea wasn’t enough and App.net couldn’t become a sustainable business. Rather than breaking their promise and becoming yet another advertising network they scaled back the service and ultimately had to close the doors.
As another social network fades into the background I’m taking some time to reflect on what I’ve gained rather than lost. I’ve met some amazing people on App.net and have been lucky enough to keep up with them as they’ve moved on to other places. I’ve also gained some useful development experience. For those reasons I’ll remember App.net with fond and happy memories rather than mourn it’s loss. As far as I am concerned, App.net was a success.
I’ve been running my owner Friendica instance for a couple of months now. And so far I’ve been pretty happy with how it’s turned out thus far. There are however some quirks with how it works between the various networks. With that I decided to go ahead and run a dedicated instance for GNU social (gs.monkeystew.net) and start following my various ostatus contacts from there. I’ll continue to run Friendica and leave ostatus enabled but my interactions are going to be a little more split. I cross post frequently so feel free to follow me in both places or just one if I repeat myself too much. :-) @email@example.com
A few weeks back I decided to give hosting my own social service a try. There are a various different projects that are being developed many of which have a pretty solid community around them. I have been using Diaspora pretty actively now for the last couple of years so that was my initial choice. But I have also poked around other networks like status net and pump, both of which are pretty active too. Ultimately I decided to use Friendica as my service.
Friendica is an open source social web platform which runs on a typical LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack. Installation is fairly easy because it relies on common and popular components which can be found on most Linux installs as well as hosting services. Friendica supports native connectivity to different open social networks such as Diaspora and StatusNet. For services that are not supported natively there are connectors for networks like pump.io, App.net, and even Twitter.
The end result is a system that I own and control which brings together my friends across many different networks seamlessly. I can stay connected and engaged with people regardless of the network they use. Provided of course that network has an open API that can be accessed. Today I’m interacting with friends on the Friendica network, Diaspora, Hubzilla, pump.io, App.net and StatusNet. All through my Friendica server and it works!
I will be writing more posts about this and the open social web as I explore and discover new and exciting things. You can find my Friendica profile and links to my other social accounts at thrrgilag.com.
#friendica #diaspora #thefederation #socialweb
In June of 2012 I made the decision to pull the plug on Facebook and I deactivated my account and never looked back. I quit Facebook because I realized back then that the service doesn’t care about me as a person but rather me as data. Constantly changing terms of service, confusing privacy controls, it was a regular routine of discovering what they changed and how to change it back. It became too much for me to handle so I deleted all of my posts (in theory) and deactivated my account. In truth it wasn’t that hard for me to do. Facebook wasn’t my only link to those I cared about. I still had phone numbers, email, messaging, and of course real human interaction. I still get the “Oh that’s right, your not on Facebook” comment occasionally in conversation but the funny thing is, nobody actively tried to get me to rejoin.
I joined diaspora* back in 2011. There was a lot of buzz following their widely successful kickstarter campaign and back then I was annoyed with Facebook. The founders of the project wanted a decentralized and privacy aware network. I got my invite, signed up, and made only one post back then. I didn’t actively use the network until this year. I’ve discovered since they originally launched the network has grown up a lot. It doesn’t necessarily have all of the same features yet as the big services but those will come. The community is great and not just purely Google geeks. In fact it feels much more global. In my stream this morning there are posts in three different languages. And that speaks to one of the best features it has to offer. DECENTRALIZATION. There is no single company to control all of your data and interactions. You as the user can control who can see your posts, interact with you, and most importantly of all where your data actually lives. It is truly a global social network that runs on open and freely available software. Of course diaspora* isn’t the only network to offer this, but I feel it’s the best suited to replace Facebook.
What about <insert favorite social thing here>?
I actually do belong to various other services. Some of which I’m also pretty active on and rather enjoy. Others I’m not convinced are really solving the problem that Facebook has. I use Google+, but like Facebook, Google is driven on user data. It’s also a centralized closed access service so users are subject to their whim. I give them credit however for making it far easier to leave and take your data with you. I’m also on App.net, which has some truly fantastic people on it. It’s also an open network to some extent but the original business model proved to be unpopular and therefor is in a transition. My hope is that they’ll find themselves moving towards more open source, federating with other open services, and build on a great community that they still have. And then there is Ello. They talk about privacy, empowerment, and being ad-free. But it’s still a closed network, a silo, and too much like Twitter to offer anything different. I did get an invite but don’t plan on joining it anytime soon (if ever). As for pump.io and GNU social I think I’ll save my thoughts for a future post. I’m very new to those networks so I don’t have a solid opinion on them yet.
A new year
As 2014 comes to a close I find myself trying to best respond to people who feel they must keep using Facebook or risk loosing touch with their friends, family, or even the world as a whole. My answer is to take control of your network, don’t let others dictate it to you. Join the open social network on diaspora* and encourage others to as well. If you have system admin skills and resources, start your own pod. If you have development experience, contribute to the code base. If you are in media, use it, talk about it, don’t limit your audience to the silos of Facebook, Google, or Twitter. Be a part of a free and open Internet.