Decentralized Social Networking: the Tent Protocol (and people-reading)

Tent looks like a neat take on the idea of decentralized social networking: instead of the ‘do it all at once’ approach of Diaspora, Tent is taking the Unix Way and building a component that does only part of the job but does it well. Tent is a protocol that enables you to build a social networking site which gives power to the users — actually building it is up to you.

Here’s to hoping this goes well… if you must broadcast intimate personal details to the world, ensuring they don’t end up in a megacorporate Database of Ruin(tm) is really helpful.

Speaking of social skills… one advanced but rewarding aspect of studying nonverbal communication is the ability to hear the truth when someone lies to you. This is distinct from consciously analyzing someone’s body language/microexpressions and concluding that they’re lying, and from that reasoning out the truth (even if the process is much the same).

In practice, this occurs almost without noticing it. A passerby tells you the grocery store is south-east, you start walking west all the more sure of yourself for having asked… and only a minute later do you realize what actually happened.

Psychic powers? Not exactly. With enough experience, your mind has seen a broad spectrum of lies and manipulation attempts — and in many cases it also knows what the truth behind each was (even if only in hindsight). If you have a big enough mental look-up table, general similarities in how human brains work means you can start extrapolating things that shouldn’t be knowable.

” is a decentralized protocol (like email), and is a particular hosted service (like gmail). It’s better than email because: you can change your address and your followers will automatically come along with you; structured documents allow a variety of apps and uses; better broadcasting to many people (especially when groups are implemented); encryption (eventually); users can edit old posts (eventually); posts can be public like a blog or directed only at certain people; apps can invent their own kinds of posts, likes, comments, reblogs, events, rsvps, photos, check-ins, or anything else you can think of. is like a decentralized network of blogs and RSS feeds, except with privacy controls and real-time notification of new content. fosters innovation because apps don’t need the protocol owner’s permission to exist. Anyone can build apps without getting anyone’s permission (except the people who want to share their data with you). As developers of Facebook and Twitter apps know, it’s all too easy for those sites to cut off the oxygen to an app that they don’t like. is a simple protocol that speaks JSON. It’s easy for developers to build on. is an open ecosystem like the web itself. Just like anyone can set up a web server or email server without asking permission, so too can anyone host their own Tent server or write (or use) a Tent app \u2013 no walled gardens, no strings attached. is a distributed realtime internet-wide persistent message bus and JSON document store with social permission control. Buzzword bingo! is like OStatus, but better.”


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