Take back social media with Poodle

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Accepted Session
Short Form
Beginner
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 from 11:00 – 11:45am in B301

Excerpt

Social media has tremendous power to enrich our lives - but social media services are largely controlled by private companies. An alternative is to replace centralized services with federated protocols. HTTP and email are examples of federated protocols that demonstrate that federation not only works, but can thrive and give rise to cultures and technologies that the protocol authors never imagined. Poodle is a prototype that I hope will bring those qualities to social media.

Description

Social media has tremendous power to enrich our lives – but social media services are largely controlled by private companies. An alternative is to replace centralized services with federated protocols. HTTP and email are examples of federated protocols that demonstrate that federation not only works, but can thrive and give rise to cultures and technologies that the protocol authors never imagined.

There are already a number of federated social protocols, including Diaspora, GNU social, Pump.io, Buddycloud, and others. The concepts are exciting – but low adoption indicates that none of these has succeeded in meeting the needs of a federated social web.

A social protocol has four requirements:

  • a means to identify people
  • a means to send messages
  • a structured message format that expresses rich intentions
  • substantial adoption

The first three are relatively simple. But even Google has had tremendous difficulty clearing the adoption problem. This made me think, what is the simplest possible protocol that could work well? How could a social protocol use as much existing technology and infrastructure as possible? I believe the answer is to build on top of a technology that everybody already uses; a technology that has stood the test of time; a technology that seemingly will never die: email.

Email provides identity, message delivery, and is widely adopted. The final requirement is a rich message format. Activitystrea.ms, a JSON format, is the overwhelming favorite among existing federated projects – and for good reason.

By transporting structured messages via email, email can be transformed into a tool with all of the power of modern social media. Thanks to the flexibility of MIME, messages can also include fallback HTML content so that users with email clients that do not understand activitystrea.ms can participate transparently. Social email is still in the prototype stage – but 2.6 billion email users are already part of the network.

Poodle is a prototype implementation of a social email client. In this talk I will introduce Poodle, and describe some use cases for social email. I will talk about what has already been implemented, and how Poodle relates to work being done by the Social Web Working Group. And together we will discuss what the future of social email might look like. Your feedback is welcome – I want to hear all about your thoughts and ideas!

Tags

social, Protocol, federation, identity, email, elecron, react, react native, web

Speaking experience

My previous conference talks include:

## Mod your Android, Open Source Bridge, June 2013

how to install a community ROM on an Android device and how to choose a device that is modder-friendly
http://opensourcebridge.org/sessions/1067

## Object-oriented patterns in JavaScript, NodePDX February 2012

experiments in applying ideas from Clojure and Haskell to JavaScript
http://lanyrd.com/2012/nodepdx/smyqm/

## Cookies are bad for you, Open Source Bridge, June 2011

enhancing web security to protect against cross-site request forgery
http://sitr.us/talks/cookies/

## Professional JavaScript, Open Source Bridge, June 2010

best practices for working with JavaScript and common pitfalls
http://sitr.us/talks/professional-javascript/

## Cluster Analysis: How to Have Fun in n Dimensions, Open Source Bridge, June 2009

an introduction to hierarchical cluster analysis
http://opensourcebridge.org/2009/wiki/Clustering_Data_--_How_to_Have_Fun_in_n-Dimensions

## How to build blazing fast web apps with Ruby on Rails, Portland Code Camp, May 2009

improving web app performance through page caching and dynamic loading
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1hx9Pzo07aAnZ2skMH4JPjH7a6IXx64uC0zRliS3qpkk/edit?usp=sharing

I have also given many presentations at the Portland JavaScript Admirers, the Portland Ruby Brigade, and other user group meetups.

I have not given this talk before - but I did submit a proposal to CascadiaFest for a similar talk. My plan is for the CascadiaFest version to focus more on technical aspects of the JavaScript-based code in Poodle, and for the Open Source Bridge version to focus more on use cases and usability of social email, and considerations for making social email as safe, welcoming, and expressive as possible.

Speaker

  • Headshot 300x300

    Jesse Hallett

    Galois Inc., Tozny, Portland JavaScript Admirers

    Biography

    Jesse Hallett is a founder and organizer of the Portland JavaScript Admirers users group. Jesse works at Galois as a research engineer, and at Tozny. These days Jesse is excited about

    - React, and functional patterns around application development
    - JS apps everywhere with React Native and Electron
    - Democratizing the social web

    Sessions

      • Title: Take back social media with Poodle
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B301
      • Time: 11:0011:45am
      • Excerpt:

        Social media has tremendous power to enrich our lives – but social media services are largely controlled by private companies. An alternative is to replace centralized services with federated protocols. HTTP and email are examples of federated protocols that demonstrate that federation not only works, but can thrive and give rise to cultures and technologies that the protocol authors never imagined. Poodle is a prototype that I hope will bring those qualities to social media.

      • Speakers: Jesse Hallett

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