Oct 04 2012


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.

Enter Tent.io

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.

The first client to consume this new Tent protocol is Tent.is. They describe the both of these like so:

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.

  1. To be fair, most companies must put their own well-being above everyone else, in order to survive. 

  2. 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. 

  • #app.net
  • #opinion
  • #planet
  • #tent.io
  • #twitter
  • #tent