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Tag: social media

That’s Amore

When the site you visit first
Is on the Fediverse,
That’s Amore!

It’s almost winter break, so it almost goes without saying that I’ve been thinking about a project to keep me from getting bored. Over the past month or so I’ve been looking at the Fediverse and the projects associated with it. It sort of started with Twitter and Facebook clones, but it’s really taken off over the past couple of years due to Mastodon. Since finding about the Fediverse, and after trying and failing to get along with GnuSocial, the idea of creating my own version started taking hold.

But that would be too simple. Since there are already a bunch of applications that play in the federated universe, surely I could find one that suited my needs. Alas, that’s not the case. None of the applications I looked at had simple installation instructions. Some of them even required specific usernames on the server in order to run (Yes, PeerTube, I’m giving you the evil eye). Ideally, I want a web-based application that can be installed and running in under five minutes. While I’m willing to take an hour or two if I think the software is worth it, most Fediverse friendly applications don’t seem worth the effort.

Not finding an admin-friendly application, I decided to create Amore, an open-source, Fediverse friendly, microblogging and dating application written in PHP, using MySQL/MariaDB. PHP and MySQL are at the backbone of millions of websites, including Facebook, Wikipedia, Wikia, and any website running WordPress, so it’s only natural to expect to find a web-based application that uses them. Applications that run other languages or use other databases create hurdles to use.

With regard to social media, I like Twitter a lot. I’m on it nearly every day. I like the character limit, since it forces people to get to the point. Plus, it’s easier to be witty in small doses.

If all of this wasn’t difficult enough, I also want the software to function as a dating site, though the implementation will be left up the individual website owners. I’ve tried a lot of dating apps and websites, and I’m usually disappointed by them. I understand, most dating websites only exist to make money for the owners. If there’s no profit motive, the website/app wouldn’t exist. In contrast, most Fediverse websites are run without ads, either relying on donations or being run out of someone’s pocket. To me, a dating website that runs without ads, or without requiring paid memberships would be great, but it leads to a potential problem.

An ideal dating website/app has millions of active users all around the globe. However, unless it’s owned by a billionaire, it’s hard to imagine it getting by without ads or paid memberships. Millions of users means a lot of servers, a lot of bandwidth, and a lot of money to keep running.

I’m hoping that the decentralized nature of the Fediverse – combined with easy to install, setup, and use – will encourage website admins to consider running Amore, preferably without ads or the need for paid memberships.

Despite all that, Amore is still very much alpha software. It’s not suitable to be run on a production website. It lacks many features found on most CMS software, let alone any Fediverse apps, or dating applications.

Max Social

Reading this article about how the “short-term, dopamine driven feedback loops” created by social media giants are killing normal discourse, it makes me wonder how to fix it. Maybe if Facebook, Twitter, etc limited people to a maximum number of friends/followers, it would introduce a check in the system.

I normally use Twitter, so I’ll use their terminology for this. Let’s say everybody can only follow 500 people, and that they can only be followed by a maximum of 500 people. By limiting the number of people you follow, your diet of tweets is limited only to those Twitterers. That extra cute video of your kitten playing with a puppy can still go viral, but it’ll take longer to happen.

With a maximum limit on who we follow and who can follow us, we’re forced to do some picking and choosing. I think most people would follow close family members and allow the family members to follow them, and there would probably be something similar with coworkers (or maybe not). But for the rest, who would you follow? Politicians? Celebrities? Athletes? Artists? Conversely, who would you let follow you? Former classmates? Fellow hobbyists? Advertisers? Co-religionists?

Do you follow someone who seems to have gone off the rails and started relentlessly tweeting about pigeons? You can unfollow him. Do you follow an aunt who never tweets, ever? Unfollow her and follow someone more interesting.

Introducing maximum limits into social media would be an equalizer, since the cashier at the deli around the corner could have the same number of followers as the leader of the country.

Just a thought.