The year is 2013 AD and all social networking is occupied by Facebook and Google. Only one small village of indomitable Gauls holds out against the invaders, still fighting to create an open, federated social network.
After Diaspora degenerated into a strange mix of Pinterest and Powerpoint (before being abandoned by its creators for the infamous Makr.io), there is a now a new attempt by Canadian developer Evan Prodromou, who also created Identi.ca and Status.net.
On July 10 Identi.ca finally migrated from Status.net to the new Pump.io software. Unlike its predecessor, Pump.io is not just a Twitter clone but a full fledged federated social network. Right now the feature set is pretty basic, there is support for formatted text notes and photo uploading, a games API (demonstrated by Open Farm Game) and an authorization system similar to the one Plus stole from Diaspora (with “lists” instead of circles, this time).
Tags and groups are still missing, same as web image or video embedding. But more important than features, Pump.io has a users. Three days after the Identi.ca conversion Pumplive shows over 28000 users on 52 different instances. That doesn’t sound much compared to compared to 800 million Facebook users, but it’s enough for a lively conversation.
To encourage federation, Identi.ca does not accept new registrations, but you can join the fun on a number of other public instances available under the pump.io try it link (there’s a number of instances, so if you don’t like the URL just “try it” again). Without groups and tags you need to follow people to get posts – good starting points for finding people are Evan’s follower list or Jpope’s directory of users know to his own Pump instance.
Old status.net clients like Mustard are not working anymore, but a number of clients is already in development, including Like / Hate “buttons” for the web and two pretty good Android apps called Puma and Impeller.
While not yet a replacement for Facebook or even Tumblr, Pump.io is definitely one of the more promising approaches to open and federated social networking. Check it out and follow me on https://fmrl.me/axel (https://identi.ca/axel668 is now inactive).