Alcides Fonseca

40.197958, -8.408312

UnTwitter

So Twitter has scalability problems. Everyone know that. And unless they move to Google App Engine or something like that, they’ll continue to have them as microblogging gets more popular. The solution is to decentralize it.

I’ve came across SMOB, a decentralized microblogging based on FOAF and SIOC, both RDF based formats to describe rich data. Well I find all this too geeky and complicate (however, I do support the semantic web).

Many say that twitter should run on Jabber. I might agree with that, but the web is too concentrated on HTTP nowadays, and maybe this microblogging thing should stay there (with gateways to jabber, sms, etc..)

So I propose a super-simple solution: independent microblogging providers. that manage your own posts. and provide them to the public as RSS.

  • Independent providers
    • Manage your authentication
    • Manage your micro-posts
    • Manage the people you subscribe
    • Should allow you to export you data.
    • Expose a public HTML profile with last twitts at a url (like http://untwitter.com/alcides) with microformated hCard.
    • Expose your last feeds in RSS format in a url that may vary, but specified as the first rss link in each profile’s head)
    • Expose a public HTML page for each twitt (like http://untwitter.com/alcides/2008/25/3653) (permalinked in the RSS).
    • Manages a list of other providers through Trackback (or Pingback) so they can ping each other for new posts.
  • Identity discovery
    • You can also use your personal website (http://alcidesfonseca.com) if you set your microblogging provider in the page’s head (http://untwitter.com/alcides) This may be achieved with Yadis.
    • It should allow secondary providers that only keep a backup of your twitts.
  • Twitter.com Interoperability
    • Each post shoud be replicated on twitter.com (should be handled by your provider, since there is authentication there)
    • You can subscribe to your twitter friends through twitter.com/username (since a RSS feed is provided).
    • A “twitter importer” in your provider would be nice.
  • Pros
    • Decentralized w/ backups when it’s down (if you have a personal address, pretty much like OpenId)
    • You can use this as lifestream, since you can have different channels in RSS (one for links, one for photos, one for microposts). It would work as a Friendfeed/Jaiku aggregator, but you could apply filters.
  • Issues
    • No main list of users (although you can generate it from the providers your provider knows)
    • No private posts. Any solution for this?

That’s it. If you have any idea on this, feel free to contact me (check the right side of the page).