Looking for the killer app for Solid

For a publisher business, it seems like they could have different offerings depending on the following scenarios:

  1. User shares an anonymous hash, and gets an allotment of free articles per month, and tailored articles based on their reading history.
  2. User shares an email, and gets everything above, but greater allotment of free articles, as well as tailored newsletters and news alerts.
  3. User shares their identity and credit card details, and can subscribe to the publication (there could be many tiers of service here)

The key is for a button at the top of a publisher page to allow a user to share details with a single click.

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Oops, I completely missed this reply 2 weeks ago. Absolutely, I’d love to chat and see if this idea might have any legs - I can dm you to have a quick chat. I’m a software developer and business analyst with not much of a business head so it would likely start out as a POC to see if it interests any others.

Pimping out our personal data to corporations has been a concern of mine for a while but haven’t had the time or incentive to try building something in Solid on my own. Perhaps it will just take a couple of people getting together to start with a small simple goal.

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I don’t know why they are messing around with healthcare, what a slow torturous nightmare. Partner with Brave browser, BAT tokens, share info with advertisers, that’s what it’s built for and what a lot of people want. I say this with some conviction, as I wrote a brief business plan for what is now Solid back in1996. Just dug it up, pretty much the same thing.

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Is anyone here planning to attend the Internet identity Conference 4/20-22 (https://internetidentityworkshop.com)? I’m interested in prospective adoption thresholds and drivers (market, regulatory and otherwise) for Solid and decentralized identity, generally and as they may relate to particular killer app prospects. Would anyone attending be interested in joining a session on mapping these out?

Thanks to mthorner for starting this discussion and everyone for their contributions.

It is so strange to see this post because these were topics we discussed at IIW around 2006. My notes from the event look like a todo list that’s finally being worked on 14 years later it. I’ll check out the conference, thanks for the reminder.

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I won’t go into details but just summarize an idea of architecture :

  • You no longer post a picture in Instagram and another one on Facebook and texts on Twitter but everyting on your Pod.
  • Then you allow some publishers such as a Twitter-like or/and a FB-like to access your data. They publish them on their platform in the way they want but in respect of one rule : They publish links to your data but are not allowed to download them.

That’s it ! Consequences of this architecture :

  • The same content can be published by the Instagram-like, the FB-like and your family social media.
  • At any time you can add a new publisher that will access all or a part of your data. Publishing authorization can be revoqued at any time, you keep your data.
  • As data is available as links syndication tools can be developed. If you leave a publisher syndication tools will allow you to not leave your friends.
  • As data is available without having to store it on big servers anybody can create his own social media publisher, with friends or family. No doubt a lot of free publishing tool will be developped.
  • A new ecosystem should appear with social media publishers that will pay for your publications, or other you will pay to be published, with or without ads, respectful of your personal data (and this is the real goal, see Shoshana Zuboff’s book) or not, as well as social media search engines, social media networks, social media of social media etc…

This is so simple and so aligned with Solid philosophy that I guess either somebody already talk about this (however I only found 1 related topic in the forum) or I am wrong somewhere.

Related post : New decentralized social network, specialized in sharing public and Creative Common content. But it is only about video, creative-common and downloading in place of linking

If I’m understanding you correctly the only difference in your approach and Solid is that in yours monolithic centralized software giants are the ones who actually make your data public and therefore have a huge amount of control over. Without laws, there is nothing to prevent them from storing your data. In Solid, instead it works the way you describe but the data can only be accessed by apps that you specifically approve and those apps make it available to others. The apps are not centralized and there are incentives for new apps. The Solid approach seems much more likely to address Zuboff’s issues than your approach.

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Hi Jeff, thanks for your answer. I think we agree on 90% but the difference is worth discussing.

If I’m understanding you correctly the only difference in your approach and Solid is that in yours monolithic centralized software giants are the ones who actually make your data public and therefore have a huge amount of control over.
Today if I want to post on both Twitter and Mastodon I have to login twice and copy/paste the post wich may include one or more pictures on both apps. What I will not do, because I am lazy and most of my friends are on Twitter. If I create my post and only have to select Twitter and Mastodon as targets in one click I will do it. And so Mastodon will get more posts, and as my friends know they will get my posts on Mastodon they will go there.

Without laws, there is nothing to prevent them from storing your data.
But terms and condition of my subscription to a publisher can do. Actually I don’t care as long I keep the “original” data and can post it where I want.

In Solid, instead it works the way you describe but the data can only be accessed by apps that you specifically approve and those apps make it available to others.
In my proposal - which of course is based on Solid - social media are the apps you are talking about and of course they need to be approved to get my data. But on the contrary of apps they act as scenarizeurs and push you data as classical apps act as browsers and you have to pull data. Actually both kind of classical apps and social media can coexist.

The apps are not centralized and there are incentives for new apps.
Same for new social media that can appear because posts of users will no longer be exclusive to a specific social media.

The Solid approach seems much more likely to address Zuboff’s issues than your approach.
I recommand using Solid but I think there is the need of a layer that act as agoras where people can meet. And the point that Zuboff denounces is not the existence of this layer but that it is monopolistic and its perversion.

Your idea is great, but unfortunately the big social platforms base their business model on storing, mining and selling our data. They will simply not allow us to convert them to simple temporary display engines. The moment we own and control our data - their present business model is gone.


what about a decentralized “small ads” / “classified” / offers app ? https://scenaristeur.github.io/bon-prix/about


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@Smag0 you might like the idea of OfferBots by Andrew Mackie (the problem-analysis side is very cool and a unique perspective, solution-side needs more work and a different approach). This would lend itself for a combined ActivityPub + Solid solution! If this can be implemented, I am sure there’s a killer app in it. See also Offerbots (to bypass aggregators of attention) at HTC, and Offers Unchained at SocialHub).

I come at this from the perspective of auditable sharing of user profile data more than “one image on the POD/blockchain shared by all.” Taking back ownership of our data is a big topic, and while throwing memes in PODS for sharing is useful, it’s not a priority this early on, at least that’s how I see it today.

Posting to your pod: This is how well-established tools like Social Pilot and Buffer function. Use POD as content store, an app like Buffer uses API’s to connect and publish across multiple channels. This is decade-old tech that any junior marketer uses daily.

Side note: Who’s talking to 1Password and LastPass about using them as a front end for PODs? Huge installed base, reasonable UI, etc.

Allow some publishers to access your data: This is EXACTLY what the current NFT market insanity is all about. NBA does this and the company with the tech just raised $300M. This is why the NFT market could influence “photos on the blockchain/POD” more than anything we’re doing here TBH.

Getting Facebook to change it’s TOS for this will take a decade as they spent billions on stuff like Haystack, so off to Congress we go for a few years.

If I drag and drop a new photo into Messages, the photo gets uploaded to my POD and Messages app knows to display the image url. At the same time I’m emailing and texting images that aren’t on the blockchain so it’s a big mess unless the entire Windows/Mac/Linux ecosystem has this functionality built into the core codebase. That’s what, five years out once we know what we’re asking them to do? People want this built into the OS like sharing buttons are, not so much an external app.

As data is available without having to store it on big servers: PODS will definitely end up on some sort of AWS, we’re not going to have nine billion different datastores out there (say three devices, 3 billion people), that’s insane. Cloud doesn’t have to be the enemy of our data management. It’s about access and ownership functionality, not the location of hard drives.

A new ecosystem should appear with social media publishers: This is already here and similar to what Brave browser does via Basic Attention Tokens.

A pod needs to be as easy to install and run as downloading an app from the app store. Don’t mention Wordpress (which I’ve used for 15 years, I get your point).

The killer app could be an existing front end like 1Password or Buffer. I’m sure there will be many, just like Twitterbot, Tweetdeck and all of those related apps. 1Password is a great example of an existing app to tie into: Add POD access and then spend far too much time trying to figure out how to present access controls that my mom understands.

Someone mentioned gradual sharing of data. That is a HUGE deal in the dating industry. I know the CEO of Match, wonder if she would be interested.

As I dive deeper, I keep thinking that social media and images on the blockchain/PODS are not great areas to venture into. Stick with personal data, not worried about tweets and getting paid for memes.

After I read and tested links of previous posts I rewrite the proposal. It is a bit long, sorry.

Agoras are places where people meet. A kinf of social media. They read the posts subscribers save in their private storages. They can download them but do not own them and are not allowed to redistribute them. They scenarize them and can monetize this scenarization in the way they want, with ads for instance: The goal is not to control them but make concurrence exist and let you be free to go.

Posts are created by a specific editor. They are expressed in an RDF language and agoras can understand them without the need of any technical description.
Posts editors are distinct from agoras because the same post can target distinct agoras. They act in the same way as mail clients which can send mails to recipients of different mail accounts providers (what has not always been the case in 1990’s with AOL or Lotus Notes). When creating a new post a user select the target agoras in the same way you select recipients when writing a mail and so get a form having mandatory and optional fields for the selected agoras. Fields are defined using ontologies, same field can be used by different agoras. When posts are created notifications are sent to agoras.
The agoras should provide such multi-agoras editors so that users can post without leaving the agora but this is not mandatory. You can log in an agora and use its editor to post to another agora as data is saved in your Pod.
User interactions (“Likes”, comments and answers) are stored as usual in the author’s storage and links to them are created in the storage of the user of the original post.

Let’s dream a bit:
I am used in only using a FB-like agora but I am moving. I subscribe to a “newcomers” agora. When creating an FB-like post, I may also select this “newcomers” agora as target and so have to fill in a new field where I mention my new city: In this agora post are organized by cities and there I will be able to introduce myself. After a couple of weeks, I will probably stop posting to this agora but I will have a look at it from time to time in case a newcomer needs help or information.

We plan a wonderful travel. Using a provider, I select my private agora in its catalog and create it in one click. While preparing and traveling we and all our followers post in the agora. When back home we close it but a tool allows each of the participant to download it as an archive and keep the possibility to look at it offline. In 20 years, my children will be happy to show it to their children.

As you can see this not a question of developing a tool but defining a simple architecture based on existing (and widely underemployed) protocols (ActivityPub), tools (Solid) and specifications (RDF). Then the bet is that people and organizations will see they can easily create an agora and get an audience in this non-proprietary and non exclusive eco-system.
The best way to validate this could be to create a mockup. Bon-prix tool from @smag0 already does a big part of the job.

In terms of opportunities for worldwide growth and adoption, third-party cookies are being phased out. Here’s a mega-billion dollar market looking for a new solution. What are cookies but tiny limited PODS? How publishers are preparing for a post-cookies future

My take is to focus on personal data. Images/video DRM is being taken care of elsewhere in the NFT ecosystem and they are miles ahead and something like $500M in funding. NFT’s appear to solved 90% of “image ownership”. Maybe OS devs will have to customize screenshot functionality as well.

Nice take on Access levels, but no button, we don’t need to add html/css to 50 billion web pages. Most of this information is in 1Password already, pretty straightforward concept to enable 1Pass to share fine-grained access controls behind the scenes, without user intervention unless warranted. Idea is user primes their anonymous hash and level 2-3 beforehand as defaults. Reminds me of early Facebook Connect where you could choose what’s shared. All this has been done already, need to remix so it works better across the board.

Hi John - could I contribute to this too please? As a day job i work in the UK local gov space and completely get the issue you describe. Out of work I am involved in setting up a grass roots community data company model to enable community data optimisation - a part of which would be permissioned personal data. Would be very happy to contribute… Regards

Most overlooked comment right here.

IMHO, the killer app that deploys Solid protocols to millions won’t be ‘about’ Solid. The broad adoption will come when Solid functionality is subsequent to the economic model of XYZ killer app.