The demise of social networks


Creating my own social network

For what seems like forever, I wanted to create my very own social networking site. At first, it was going to compete with Facebook, have reactions (before they invented it), and use open technologies. I started creating something with my custom PHP, I created the ability to register, log in and add friends. It was going great and my friends were playing around with it. A few bugs were being reported which I would try to fix, and a few months later, I got bored.

Years after my experience, Laravel (a fantastic PHP framework) appeared, and a spark reignited. I tried to recreate a social network on and off and rebooted it so many times. It was meant to be decentralised and have so many bells and whistles but after so many agonising years I decided it was time to give up the ghost.

Every social network dies eventually

I knew that Facebook and other social networks only have so long to live. We’ve seen the demise of Bebo, MySpace, PhotoBooth and so many more social networks just disappear. Facebook will have its day, and I think that day will be very soon.

The future is here

There are now websites like Mastodon and Squeet which are completely decentralised. You can download their source code and place it on your very own website then ask friends/family to join it.

These websites also connect to ActivityPub (I’ll call it AP for short), and this is where it gets incredibly interesting. AP is completely open and decentralised, it’s a data format that anyone can create and can be used on any website. To prove it, I have it installed right here on my WordPress blog although I never created the plugin, it works fantastically already. Every time I publish a blog post, it communicates with AP and gets sent to every social network reading from it including Mastodon and Squeet (to name a few).

Your very own social network in a pinch

This got me thinking, what if we could make the process so simple, everyone can have their own social network? Almost as easy as connecting WordPress to JetPack in order to connect to the WP community. What if we could make a simple static site that can be deployed to a server with a push of a button and almost be free? This would then instantly connect you to everyone via AP.

This is still a pie in the sky idea, but I honestly think it’s doable, and it will be something I am potentially looking into this year.

If you have any ideas, then please send them over. If I start this project, I will keep you all updated.

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