I had some ideas for a social networking service and wanted some feedback from you guys, since you’re an intuitive bunch.
I was thinking of something similar the other day. My idea was in the form of a “botlandia”, where people could have up to say 5 “bots” which would be open source modules that would consume, follow, filter, etc the underlying data. You could then share these bots with others and create more. The nice thing about it would be that it is totally customizable for what you want, yet you could use common and shared building blocks for ease.
Well, how does this actually compare with Facebook? You can exclusively use messenger if you prefer to avoid baby pictures. The default web clients are actually pretty flexible if you take the time to set up groups and lists and whatnot. And while I haven’t used it, I think you can take the graph API and build any client you like, so if you wanted to only post Ed25519 signed updates, you could do that.
Now, there’s something of a governance issue. Not just anyone can make changes to Facebook. How will you organize your network? I suppose you could model it like Mozilla, although practically speaking I feel pretty powerless controlling the direction Firefox is going too.
I’m working on something that addresses this with decentralization. With a decentralized or federated system, the governing body would push specifications and reference implementations rather than features. Then, governance becomes something that is driven by consensus among the user base. The feature set adopted by the majority of your friends defines the feature set of your network.
Facebook provides their user with a wealth of core services that cannot be completely disabled and/or removed. Tagging and Location data, are a couple that I can think of that many people would remove, if they were able to.
On the remark of direction of the service, I think a democratic structure would be viable, but that’s difficult to accomplish with the lack of real identity requirement and the high potential for abuse (e.g. trolling). Perhaps a ranking system could sort this out. I like the idea of giving people who have made more contributions towards the service to have a stronger word in the direction of the service. For example, Linus Torvalds started the Linux operating system, and because of his large contributions, his opinion for changes in it are large.