Decentralized Microblogging – Twitter 2.0?

May 5, 2008

Michael Arrington has just published a post about how a decentralized Twitter might work called “Twitter can be liberated“.

Much of it was based on a discussion we had on the subject and how RSS, XMPP and Microblogging software could create a decentralized Twitter (Much like WordPress, Blogger and LiveJournal are decentralized software platforms for traditional blogging).

The key component would be an easy bridge between RSS and XMPP. We actually already have such a technology in our labs called ‘SyncStream

This new model would, by necessity, push a lot of the work to the edge where aggregators would need to manage subscriptions, blocks and @ reply tracking. I think, however, that this is an opportunity rather than a problem.

The idea is discussed pretty thoroughly on the post so I wont rehash it here. It’s a fascinating notion, one my team and I have been kicking around for more than a year.

I wonder if it will gain traction…

51 Responses to “Decentralized Microblogging – Twitter 2.0?”

  1. Sam Sethi Says:

    Chris a better solution IMHO is Atom over XMPP which is not a new idea but one whose time I think is fast approaching.

    This is what I expect Google to implement given Gtalk supports XMPP and that Google support Atom 1.0 via GData. What is even more exciting is the availability of Google’s BigTable as a storage mechanism which is both RESTful and can be queried via GData (Atom “Query” extension).

    So I can see a distributed model using Google cloud/Bigtable to store messages and presence.

    I think Google should have bought Twitter instead of Jaiku but it looks like people are experimenting with XMPP/Jaiku

  2. Isofarro Says:

    This is something to the discussions and draft specifications that happened in the development of Atom. It would be worth spending time sifting through the Atom mailing list threads covering XMPP, as well as and the results of a Google search for they keywords XMPP and Atom.

    There’s even working code from Rob Sayre at:

  3. Decentralized Twitter (like WordPress)- interesting
    idea.But long way from idea to service…

  4. randomwalker Says:

    I’ve been hoping for a long time that decentralization would happen. Thank you for working out the technical details. Perhaps you should set up some sort of wiki for people interested in coming together to work on it. If server software becomes available I will be happy to run a server myself.

  5. […] veröffentlicht. “Twitter can be liberated” beschreibt unter anderem auch Chris Saads (Gründer von Lösungsvorschlag zu einem “dezentralen […]

  6. Sam: I just found out that jaiku was built using technologies that are a known factor to Google (python + twisted) which kinda explains why they ended up leaning that way. Incidentally, I think ralphm the guy whose jaiku page you linked to is also a twisted user. 🙂

    randomwalker: I think the idea for most people would more be a plugin for your blog – so your blog _and_ your microblog are hosted in the same place 🙂

    I’m looking forward to the new twitterverse, makes a lot more sense – like RSS and feed readers. 🙂

  7. […] is preparing to face their scaling challenges head on and prove to Mike Arrington, Dave Winer and Chris Saad they can be a reliable and stable service. Their beliefs remain unabated until Twitter begins […]

  8. […] about a “decentralised Twitter”, which was picked up by Dave Winer, Marc Canter and Chris Saad amongst […]

  9. John Breslin Says:

    We’ve recently written a paper showing (one prototype called SMOB of) how distributed / decentralised microblogging can work:

    “Microblogging: A Semantic Web and Distributed Approach”

    Click to access 11.pdf

    The SMOB prototype code (both the semantic microblogging publishing client and server-based web service) is available at:

    See some pictures and more information on my blog post at:

  10. […] there have been a lot of buzz recently regarding ways to provide open alternatives to Twitter, then fun thing is that we […]

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