Tim Berners-Lee's Proposed Social Network

I’ve always had a curiosity about how our internet and social networking systems work. Of special interest to me is the way things could work, other than the way they do now. Projects like Apache Wave née Google, Tent.io, App.net, Diaspora, and others have sparked some fun research for me. Now, Tim Berners-Lee (a.k.a. the inventor of the World Wide Web) has proposed a new decentralized microblogging service, called Client-Integrated Micro-Blogging Architecture, or CIMBA for short.

From their Github page:

CIMBA is a privacy-friendly, decentralized microblogging application that runs in your browser. It is built using the latest HTML5 technologies and Web standards. With CIMBA, people get a microblogging app that behaves like Twitter, built entirely out of parts they can control.

To use CIMBA, people must have an account at some Data Server (also called a “personal data store”) which implements the Linked Data Platform (LDP) Web standard with appropriate extensions. Users may choose to run their own Data Server, use one provided by an employer/school/government, or even pay for a Data Server service. Whatever their choice, they can easily switch to another Data Server whenever they want or even concurrently use different Data Servers for different aspects of their life.

The wonderful thing about this is that the data is separate from the platform. Anything shared isn’t stuck on Twitter.com or Facebook.com, but on a server of the users’ choice.

Basically, if you don’t like CIMBA anymore, or if there is a better microblogging Web app that you want to use, you just need to replace the Web app, which only acts as the UI component of the system. The data you have created will not be affected by the change!

This is far from a new idea (it actually sounds very similar to Tent.io), but it’s exciting to see it get some backing from Berners-Lee, a veritable web powerhouse. I’ll be watching this project closely.

Have a comment or notice a typo? Send me an email, or fork this post on GitHub.