Techdirt Podcast Episode 241: Protocols Versus Platforms, Part One

from the open-v-closed dept

Today on the podcast, we've got the first part of a panel discussion organized by Lincoln Network on a subject we've been talking more and more about around here: a return to an internet based on open protocols instead of closed platforms. The panel, which took place last week, is moderated by Marshall Kosloff and features Mike Masnick, Cory Doctorow, Ashley Tyson and Mai Sutton. In next week's episode we'll have the second half along with the Q&A at the end, but this week you can dive in to the first part of this wide-ranging discussion about protocols versus platforms.

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Filed Under: platforms, protocols

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  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Mar 2020 @ 5:57am

    1. After Mastodon proved federated/decentralized social media could work, several similar projects for other social media(-esque) outlets cropped up in succession. For the YouTube side of things, there’s PeerTube.

    2. If Masto is any indication: Yes, they will have to do a lot more work. But when haven’t independent artists ever had to do more work than usual?

    3. I got nothin’.

    4. So long as the protocol allows it? Yes. Tusky, a Mastodon app for Android, allows me to access my Mastodon account, which allows me to interact with the Fediverse at large just as I could if I were using my account’s web interface. And Tusky allows for multiple accounts, which means people with accounts on different Masto servers can load them into Tusky and switch between them at will.

    5. Mastodon has mostly avoided this trap by rejecting ads, corporate sponsorships, and the like — and by having a friendly(-ish) userbase that is more than happy to help teach new users how things work on the Fediverse.


    So much of this talk of protocols and decentralization means (to me at least) that more work will be foisted upon end users and content creators to continuously curate and monitor their experiences and be ready to move themselves to another instance/service/protocol if the one they use up and fails.

    This already happens, albeit on a much broader scale and a much longer timeframe, with existing social interaction networks. When Tumblr announced its porn purge weeks in advance, lots of users bailed on the service and went elsewhere (artists went primarily to Twitter). It happened with MySpace, LiveJournal, and all the other similar services that were around before the current crop of leaders when those older services became irrelevant/outdated/“uncool”.

    At least with Mastodon, moving to a new account on a different instance isn’t all that hard to do. (I think you can even back up the entirety of your account and transfer it now; when I moved instances, alls I could do was transfer my watchlist and my followers list.) It even takes care of (some of) the trouble of telling people where to find you after you move by allowing you to set a redirect notice on your old account. It ain’t perfect, but it’s not as if MySpace let you automagically move your followers list to Twitter, so…


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