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by Brian Schrader

The Open Microblog Standard

Posted on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 at 12:16 AM

A few weeks ago I began drafting a new standard for open, platform independent communication service. You can think of it as Twitter meets RSS. Today I'm making it public (the GitHub repo has been public for almost a week now, but I haven't told anyone).

Twitter, in my eyes and in the eyes of others is not a social network, its a communications service (like the phone company). With Twitter announcing that it will soon become like Facebook, in that it shows you what it wants rather than what you want, I thought the time was perfect to begin looking for alternatives. So far few exist, and those few that do are just lined up to be another Twitter or Facebook. This led me to try coming up with my own solution.

The Open Microblog standard is an outline for a potential service(s) that provide features similar to Twitter, but in a way that is not controlled by a central entity. Its based on RSS and, excluding some additional information, should work with most RSS readers already. It adds the ability to reply to, message, and converse with people using a simple format. A user's data is 100% public, and users can migrate to any open microblog service provider if their current choice no longer fits their needs or goals all without losing followers, their block list, or the ability to talk with their friends.

Here's an excerpt from the Open Microblog Spec:

In recent years our internet communication has been increasingly controlled by single private companies. Facebook and Twitter account for an enormous percentage of online communication...

The Open Microblog is a proposed standard for an open and easy to implement internet communication mechanism. It is based on the success of RSS and is platform independent. It allows for most of the features that services like Twitter and Facebook provide but in an open way.

I encourage any developers reading this to please check out the spec, read through it, submit pull requests, etc. The spec is still technically in development and I'd love your feedback.

The first Open Microblog provider is in development, and any developers looking to implement a provider themselves, please get in contact with me. You don't have to since I don't control anything, but I'd love to hear your plans so that we can work together to create a better, more open web for everyone.

The Open Microblog Spec →

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