[80c] Replacing facebook

Aymeric Mansoux am-80c at kuri.mu
Wed Apr 18 10:56:16 CEST 2012

(I'm going to be increasingly slower in responding in the coming weeks
as I'm writing and wrapping up stuff for my upgrade, procrastination
might bring me back here regularly though... *cough*)

alex said :
> I don't really know what I mean, but by 'replacing facebook' I don't
> think I mean with another social network.  At least not the current
> meaning of 'social network technology' (the oldest social network
> technology is probably music itself).
> Rather than pulling all the functions of the internet into this kind
> of social network, it'd be good to use the whole internet again, and
> have different protocols and places for different things.
> I was wondering if Aymeric would have suggestions, as the way
> eightycolumn is set up goes in this direction, and I remember reading
> about a project resurrecting old fashioned internet protocols via him.

Yes, and this relates to a discussion I had with Dušan Barok about
decentralisation (for a complete different project), and the project you
are referring to is probably thimbl from Dmytri Kleiner.

Running an alternative system to an existing walled garden is very
difficult due to the convenience of having everyone at reach at the same
place. Migration only happens to move to even more convenient systems
(which is Google's approach to compete with Facebook). From a very
practical angle, people start to use social networks because it is
convenient, just like it was convenient to use geocities and its
neighborhood system instead of running your own server and build up an
online community from the ground up. It's as simple as that.

But I do think that populating existing network protocols and services,
while being inconvenient, is in fact much more fruitful and exciting
(and fun too) that getting stuck within walled gardens (regardless if
they are centralized or decentralized) which functionalities have been
defined by others. Said differently it is a refreshing approach compared
to the more passive one of being a user which only freedom is to agree
with a TOS and an interface he had no opportunities to comment and
contribute to. Not that I want to promote some sort of platonic ideal of
design by community (which has its flaws as well), but there is always
an interesting middle ground somewhere between the two extremes.

I do like that 80c has its own (unused) domain, yet has a wiki on lurk,
a mailing list on multiplace, a chat chan on freenode, instead of
capitalizing its resources under one single system/server. Grant's live
distro that fires up an editor that points to an editable shared
documentation resource is also an healthy direction (linked to the
underlying question if whether or not we should ditch mediawiki for
something else but's that's bit OT maybe).

I also recall a chat on #80c about using a server as social network and
only using forgotten command line tools for chatting and sharing
information. This does sound extreme of course, but at the same time, we
don't have to solve any problems but ours and we do not have please
anyone, but instead accommodate the participation of those who want to
contribute.  Then the biggest difficulty is to stick with the
alternative and try to make it work as much as possible. For me it's not
so much about bringing back to life the "good old days," it's more about
being creative with what the net has to offer and not fall into the
scale trap.
Which links back to your initial proposal, Alex, and Geofroy's question
is quite important in that regard:

> > What could work is that it would be specific to a theme,
> > maybe new media or floss oriented? 

IMO, it should match the scope of 80c, because next to Facebook there
are already other more or less general new media channels that work very
well such as http://www.furtherfield.org, http://monoskop.org or

It should not try to reinvent the forum/CMS/blog-wheel as well, but be
very simple and to the point. If the focus is the one of announcing
events/calls, then that's it and we should provide a simple gateway for
people to post them and follow them. For the latter we can make our
point related to walled gardens by only sticking with www, IRC, mail and
RSS for the access of the content.


More information about the eightycolumn mailing list