Dazzle and the Fediverse

By Johannes Ernst


Apparently it sometimes requires the antics of an odd gazillionaire to get user-controlled, decentralized technology adopted. In this case, since Elon Musk took over Twitter, millions of people have created accounts in the Fediverse, mostly on the currently leading app, Mastodon.

The fediverse has been on my radar for a long time, since its early days when it branched off from what we used to call “user-centric identity”. For many years, it’s been interesting, and alive, but in a small niche. Until Elon and the Twitter saga. Now it is exploding.

The core idea of the Fediverse is that as a user of social media, you have a choice of service providers that offer social media services to you, but that regardless which one you choose, you can interact with everybody else, even if they are using a different service provider. Currently, there are over 10,000 Mastodon providers alone, and many other apps. As opposed to, say, one Twitter. You can even set up yourself as your own service provider if you don’t mind the systems administration. This magic is possible through a set of standards, centered around the ActivityPub protocol.

Sounds very much like one of the ideas behind Dazzle and the Data Palace: you decide where you host your Data Palace, and if you don’t like it there any more, you can go somewhere else without losing your data or your connections.

Of course Data Palace will provide a much broader set of functionalities than just social media as it is practiced today. But: communications with others, whether they are Data Palace owners themselves or just social media users, is important to Dazzle. So ActivityPub support has been on our roadmap for a long time.

Elon bumped it forward. We will be very happy to enable Data Palaces to participate in the fediverse as soon as we can, and there are some really interesting use cases we can support that so far, nobody has done in the fediverse. Stay tuned!

P.S. There was some discussion about this in last month’s community meetup (slides).