Projects, Technology 2017-10-22

The limits of a decentralized social network

I like the idea of a decentralized social network. Everything is a node and all the nodes interact, allowing users to control of their content and information and so forth.

That said, I think a serious drawback is general discovery. With a messageboard, web forum or the like, one just has to peruse the posts and threads and jump in.

With Friendica, it seems a bit more complicated. I have to hope the friend suggestions function updates with an interesting person to follow, or I have to find a server that is open to the public to see what interesting conversations are going on. It’s the same way with the other social networks (GNUSocial, Mastodon, etc).

Of course, what I could do is sign up with another server, but that seems to bypass the purpose of a decentralized network to begin with. An account on another server means my information is on machines under someone else’s control. It’s the Facebook issue again on a smaller scale.

I’m not sure what the solution is, or even if there is one. It just seems like the whole decentralized social media concept is nearly there, but not quite.

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About the author

Erik Hentell: I started out in theater before moving to graphic design. I eventually moved into web design while trying to expand my knowledge on software development. I currently work for a media company helping with their digital assets such as source code archives and ebooks.