Thank you for visiting us and for taking the time to learn more about our efforts. What we have planned is a multiyear project that will require the cooperation of thousands of people to succeed. At the outset, we just want to get all of those people together in one place so that we can discuss how the project should unfold. If you would like to join us, congratulations — you’re in. Or at least you will be… after you register.
To help you understand what we have in mind, we have broken our plan into phases. But please keep in mind that even this summary of the phases is itself a work in progress.
Phase Zero: Building a Community
Phase Zero simply refers to the current version of the site that you are now visiting. Functionality and scalability are obviously limited by the fact that we are utilizing a content management system as a social media platform. However, the current setup provides the core functionality needed for our immediate objective of building a community of involved users that will become the early adopters of our future, custom-built platform.
As we prepare to deploy our own platform, we will invite selected users to to take part in beta testing on a test domain. All users will be able to migrate once testing is completed.
With regards to technical solutions, we are currently “platform agnostic,” meaning that although we have surveyed all major open source social networking products, we do not have a position as to which one is the best or whether any of those now in use elsewhere could provide the core functionality we would want in the future version of Patriotify. However, there are a few we’re watching very closely. We’ll discuss that more in the future in our blog and forums.
Generally, we would hope to leverage an existing open source social networking product by incorporating additional aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly features that are lacking in many of the alternative social networking platforms at present. However, if necessary for reasons of security or core functionality, we would consider building something from the ground up as a last resort.
Phase One: Deployment of Customized Social Media Platform
This beginning of this phase will mark the full-scale public launch of Patriotify. We will begin to transition our user base off of our legacy system (the one you’re using now) and onto our new purpose-built platform.
During this phase we will prioritize social networking and microblogging capabilities which will be familiar to those who have used Facebook and Twitter. More resource-intensive capabilities such as streaming video, podcasts, etc. will likely be deployed in Phase Two.
Phase Two: Deployment of Video Sharing Platform
This sort of content sharing is classified as a long-term objective due to the high bandwidth and storage requirements of such services. We are particularly interested in seeing how decentralized systems will reduce the resource requirements involved in hosting video content. For example, peer-to-peer technology is emerging as a potential alternative to massive, prohibitively costly server farms.
But overall, it is too early to even speculate as to what might be leveraged during Phase Two given that new approaches will likely emerge between now and then.
Phase Three: Federation through Interoperability
Although we started this project in response to the corporate censorship that has become common among popular social media sites, it is not our intent to replace any of those sites. Moreover, it is not our intent that any one site will ever enjoy the dominance that any of these tightly-controlled platforms now possesses. What we envision is a network of networks, offering people the chance to select among competing platforms with significantly varying interfaces and user experiences.
After publishing a set of standards for secure, open-source social networking (or adopting an existing set), we could provide for the integration of a theoretically unlimited number of nodes or instances, all with their own flavors, idiosyncrasies and subcultures. However, the common messaging standards for communication between each node would permit for sharing of content with users based on all of the other federated nodes. Pioneering developers and users have already made great strides along these lines, but most of the existing solutions don’t seem to have the degree of usability needed to convince mainstream, non-technical users to migrate away from the currently dominant platforms. At least not yet.
We don’t expect to see any of the big names in the social media industry disappear. But we believe — or at least hope — that the current market leaders could be compelled to adopt more ethical and even-handed practices in the face of more formidable competition. We believe a federation could apply such pressure much more effectively than any one entity acting alone. For more on this, please read about our principles.
Phase Four: To Be Honest, We Don’t Really Know Yet
This will depend on the feedback and ingenuity of people like you. The ideas contributed in our forums will guide what we do in future phases, and how we do it.