Further Conversation with Michael Greenman: Distributed Social Networks
We’re at a stage where we need the vast majority of 8 billion people to behave differently towards each other and the planet. We don’t know them, we don’t have their contact information, we don’t speak their language so we can’t communicate with them by email or text messages. We would be in terrible trouble if we didn’t have significant developments in communication technology available to us. Our challenge is to use those developments for our benefit rather than letting them reside in the hands of profits-first corporations and oppressive governments.
IF we post information—get transparent and open—about what we’re doing in our own languages, day by day, to a public platform—like Facebook (but one guided by a different moral framework)—as a kind of public diary; AND if we do the same with our interactions (like this one we’re having now) about topics which really matter, such as responses to climate change and pandemics, then the algorithms can take over and make associations / connections we would NEVER have the capacity or capability to do on our own. That’s how we scale-up—and speed up—the sea change we so desperately need (by the way, The New York Times today had a full-page insert from Speed&Scale.com that lays out a 10-point “Action Plan” to get to net-zero emissions by 2050—not too sure about how well it will engender massive engagement with transparency and openness, but it certainly does have a lot of big names and big money behind it).
Currently, Facebook (and many other for-profit corporations) engineers design the algorithms that mine the collected data so they promote more traffic on the platform AND attract more attention to advertising, which makes Facebook rich and makes us angry—with each other, with Facebook, with the world. And if we lived in countries with oppressive governments, the algorithms would be used to surveil and monitor behaviors in an effort to control populations.
Conversely, if we used other public / NGO platforms and chartered the development of algorithms that helped us work together rather than against one another, then our collective efforts would yield more fruit. So, when I advocate the use of Micro.blog or Mastodon or WikiTribune or several others—perhaps even hOurWorld / Time and Talents—it is in the spirit of letting the technology do the heavy lifting. Besides, we’re getting to old to do it ;-)
Now, to specifically address your questions:
I’d never heard of the 3 apps/networks [Micro.blog, Mastodon, and WikiTribune] you mention. I’d be happy to try any of them. But my first question is: do any of them have general use in many other parts of the world?
All three of them are usable anywhere in the world there is Internet access. Also, ANYONE can see what is publicly posted to them.
Is e-mail the most likely medium to reach the most people? name@network, I think would go anywhere.
Email goes to anyone who has an email address / account they can access. Due to that, only the person to whom it is addressed can see it unless the email is forwarded elsewhere or the person’s account is hacked. The lack of transparency and openness is good for security and privacy, but not helpful for speed up and scale up.
Is one of the other apps/networks more likely to be useful to get to people everywhere?
The more graphic-based the app / platform the more likely the content, which is visual, will cross borders and boundaries of language, ethnicity, culture, lifestyle, etc. etc. For instance, YouTube has 2 billion active users and Instagram 1 billion. Others like Snapchat, Pinterest, and TikTok feature users each have well over 100 million users. But again, these are susceptible to intrusion by corporate and / or governmental interests.
Should it be left to each person as they receive the invitation through whatever medium I or the next degree of separation uses, to pass it on to his/her network using the appropriate medium for that next step?
This is sort of the distributed social network of diverse, “federated” communities (Fediverse) concept behind Mastodon and others.
Then, of course, we have the question - how do they join something that anyone could use? Perhaps that needs to be a web site that anyone anywhere can link to and communicate to and from?
Check the Mastodon link above and see if that answers these questions. Also, the other links above list additional examples similar to Mastodon that may give you a clearer picture of the distributed social network concept.
All topics for useful discussion. Should we meet (perhaps with one or two others?) to work through this?
And that is the perfect segue to threaded discussions on, say, Mastodon or Micro.blog!