This is not a project as yet! It's an idea, something of a whitepaper, what a social network should be. I've been watching Facebook's and Twitter's declines into trading human connection and reaction like commodities and only staying on Web 2 socials to bear witness. Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, et al, are no better. So, I've had this idea, somewhat nebulous, and the skills to design a user interface, but I'm a hobbyist Arduino coder at best, Javascript breaks my brain. (Don't ask me why, I really don't know. Some speak C/C++, some speak both, some speak many, OK.)

But, I do have this idea of what the app should look like. It should be, in no particular order...

  • Open-source and free to use, fork or otherwise edit, audit or co-develop.
  • It should not require cryptocurrency commitments and should use the existing internet in a peer-to-peer way.
  • The app should work in browsers and the project covers its costs by selling mobile versions at a one-off fee, not subscription, at least at first.
  • It should make connections using existing address books on all platforms it's built for. If you are in your friend's address book, and they are in yours, you automatically have muted connections via the app. To request to unmute the address book connection, you would apply a group label, such as a default like "friend", "family" or "work", or create custom groups like, "football club" or "my rock band." When a connection adds you to a group, and you have added them, they can see your posts and comment. Until you are both added to each others' groupings, neither can see the other's posts. All posts should be group safe, no post can go to another group by default, with posts having to be added to group permissions one by one. It must never be possible to send a post by default to say, default "work" and custom "kinks."
  • The app should be compatible with the account downloads of existing social media, especially where such can be done as a JSON file.
  • The app should also be compatible with sharing to other platforms installed on a device, or by copy/paste in the browser.
  • Other features include...
    • shares being only visible as rendered images or some kind of locked, encrypted rich format unless the author shares a public key to allow editing. All connected users would receive a timeline feed of their friends' posts in thumbnail form. Clicking on a given thumbnail would open the article in full.
    • sharing would be done using a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that does not use any cloud services. One way I imagine this working would be via some kind of peer-to-peer rich text messenger protocol able to handle attachments. To facilitate traffic management, downloading a newsfeed would by group-by-group only. Check "friends", only posts in that category would download, then check "family", etc.


I believe the the profile/data import and cross sharing, especially, are the killer features of this hypothetical app. Being able to easily transfer and share with existing social networks, while maintaining a peer-to-peer network of friends, family, work and custom other groups maintains connections with those who can't or won't abandon old social media. Maintaining boundaries between friends, family and work (plus custom groups) improves post relevance and appropriateness. These kinds of features will make for a richer, more personal experience while helping to minimise self "outing" or personal embarrassment.

By limiting social connection to being listed in each other's existing address book, with custom fields to manage the visibility of those connections in the social app, it will be harder for fringe ideas like irrational conspiracy/politics to creep into or infiltrate groups where they are not welcome. Trolling will be at least as manageable as it currently is and may be easier because of group boundaries and strict posting permissions across groups, as set per users. User privacy will be at least as manageable as services like facey, while blocking could be partial or complete.

Being solely peer-to-peer, with no server, no crypto-financial connections and only the consent to social address book connection as the means of generating the network, there can be no data harvesting by corporations and no manipulation of users by AI or algorithms.

I'll be expanding on this idea more, soon, hence creating this whitepaper as a wiki on GitHub.


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