With the recent actions of Twitter, there’s a lot of interest in finding the right answer to our social status. We realize that there is a great deal of importance to our shorter status messages, and don’t want them “owned” by a company that is more interested in its own well-being1 than our ability to share them. It’s part of our identity. It’s becoming increasingly fundamental, such that we’ve started to look elsewhere.
App.net isn’t the solution. Besides the points I made previously, App.net is in the same group as Twitter: it owns our status messages inside a vault, and we simply hope that it will be more trustworthy than Twitter was. That can’t be the right way.
As I said previously, we need a de-centralized open standard, like e-mail or RSS.
Tent.io is a realization of that promise. I can run my own Tent server, and host and publish my own status messages on my own property. You can do the same. And our friends who aren’t as technically-savvy can use a hosted provider that’s perhaps offset by ads. We can all subscribe to each other, and see each others statuses, just like we currently can on Twitter.
Tent.io is a protocol like email, and Tent.is is a service like gmail.
Anyone can setup an account at tent.is right now. I could then setup a Tent server at tent.seanmonstar.com or something, and we could still follow each other seemlessly. This is huge. This is The Way forward.
Here’s an example with systems we already have: My friends can set up a blog on wordpress.com or tumblr, and I can subscribe to their RSS feed in Google Reader. In turn, I can host a blog myself, and my friends can subscribe to my RSS feed in whichever reader they’d prefer. This is what Tent.io is, but with less friction, a little more structure, and some privacy controls. It’s clearly much more than a simple Twitter clone.
You can continue to use App.net all you like2, but please realize that Tent.io is the real solution, one where a single company no longer owns our status and identity.
To be fair, most companies must put their own well-being above everyone else, in order to survive. ↩
It would be interesting if App.net were to switch their back-end and become a premium client for Tent.io. Pay to use it, because it’s a better client, or something. But then, it’s part of the solution. It’s helping make this de-centralized. ↩