The blog entry OpenProvider stated that the ideal social network should have:
- Accessibility/virality - it should be easy to find your friends
- Low barrier to entry
- Accessibility: I would say that accessability is a "solved" problem - it's called a URL
- Privacy: social networks seem, to me, to be inherently public. If something is published, even "privately", then it is effectively public if you stress the word "social".
- Low barrier to entry: I think it's very difficult to build distributed systems for non-technical people. Thimbl, for example, requires that an admin activate fingerd. That probably means that you need to be in a UNIX-like environment straight off the bat. Corporations are unlikely to be receptive to setting up these kinds of services unless it satisfies a corporate objective. Fingerd might make people nervous, too, "
Since finger usually serves no useful purpose and reveals potentially sensitive information about accounts on the system, the best solution is to disable it.
- I think there is always going to be a trade-off between centralised and decentralised designs. Centralisation allows for technical people to set up the framework once, and allow non-technical people to access those services without complicated setups. Central servers are likely to be better backed up, and they don't suffer from users turning off their machines.