By Ev Bogue - July 11th 2016
I've been on a quest for distributed social since 2012, so seeing it finally come to life is a dream come true for me.
The initial startup cost is still a little high to get sbot running, but if you have any experience using Node.js then you shouldn't have too much trouble getting it installed on your system. Once you get it running, you'll have a similar experience to the legacy social networks you're familiar with.
With Scuttlebot you can build your own social network. All you need to do is install the software on your and your contacts' computers, set up a pub or two, and follow each other. All of the data from your social network, from one to three hops out (depending on how you want to configure your settings) is stored on your computer.
One of the amazing things about Scuttlebot and it's associated clients is offline social network. If you're used to needing to be online to use a social network you'll think that it's magic to be able to write, vote, and publish posts while being offline.
One phenomena on the Scuttlebot network is people being inspired to write posts in places you might otherwise not be able to, such as planes, trains, and boats. Scuttlebot lets you publish the post to your local machine, and the next time you're online the post automatically begins syncing to your network.
Scuttlebot also allows you to social network over local wifi. This means even if your Internet is down you can still social network with people who are in the room with you. I'll send offline private messages across the room, and get instant responses, even when the wifi isn't in an ideal state.
In the past you'd need to belong to a centralized social network to talk to other people, and only then if your Internet connection is working. This reduces the usefulness of social networking, because you need to have a stable connection to the outside world. A distributed social network has all sorts of interesting uses. For example: if you're living in a remote location with spotty or expensive wifi, you can still social network within your village by connecting computers together using offline wifi routers or by other means. Offline social netwokring might have useful ramifications in disaster areas where Internet connectivity is out or cell towers are down.
Since I've been on Scuttlebot since Febuary, I'm ready to begin inviting some of you to join me. I realize many of you who are reading haven't been able to social network with me for a long time, since I haven't been on centralized social networking for a long time.
If you want to get Scuttlebot and one of the clients running on your computer, feel free to do so and send me an email. I'll send you an invite, and then we'll be able to see what we publish as well as send private messages -- whether the Internet is up or not.