Control Your Info
To me, federation is a way to restore control of one’s information and communications to that person. The promise of federation is that one day soon, you and I and our friends and families will either host our own (social network, instant messaging service, mail server) or we’ll be able to have someone we know in our local communities host it for us.
Right now, big, centralized networks get more attractive when they have more of the people you know (or would like to know) using them. And so, big networks get bigger and more intrusive and invasive, and they collect more and more data to sell to advertisers and government agencies, and yet, because all your contacts are using those networks, you more or less have to use them. Economists would call this a perverse incentive, because it motivates people to do things that are not in their best (long term) interests.
There are a number of federated social network projects that have foundered along the way. #GNUSocial, for example, appears to have never gotten enough people contributing code to make it happen. #Appleseed appears to have failed to attract either coders or funding. OneSocialWeb has only two known sites, and development is “on hiatus” right now. #6d has only two developers, and their site’s internal navigation is broken.
They did not fail because they lacked good ideas, or because their projects were unworthy. Their failure may not have even been related to the quality of their code. They failed because most of us just want a cooler, prettier Facebook clone. Most of us do not want to give up present convenience in order to build a better future, and it shows.
Goal Of Federation
The goal, as I see it, is for services such as this one (and #friendica, #buddycloud, #identica / #statusnet, #onesocialweb, #rstatus, #jappix, #libertree) to eventually be fully interfederated, so that by having one account on one server/tree/pod/site, a person can fully communicate with people who are using an account on any of the others.
Thus, in my eyes, federation, #privacy, and #control_of_your_own_data are of much greater importance than visual layout. Not that appearance means nothing, but if it looks good but does not work correctly, people will be chased off as surely as they will be if the design is unappealing.
I’d like to encourage everyone to try out as many of the above services as possible and others that have made federation a priority. Not just try out, but contribute in some way. It could be code, it could be design skills, it could be money, it could be skill in organizing more people to help out. It could even be helping create a user community or promoting the project.
One day, when $BIG_CENTRALIZED_SOCNET finally upsets enough users, those users may suddenly flock to the network of small, locally-controlled sites that results from our efforts.
Reposted from JoinDiaspora.com. Note: the above text contains hashtags which may require a D* login to view. However, you may also view the original posting at the JoinDiaspora link.