Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Federated micro-blogging for Canadian startup networking?

Some of you may have heard that Twitter was down the week before last. This kicked out all sorts of thinking and discussion that, perhaps, one company shouldn't be a single point of failure.

The other item that has been coming up again and again is a request that the Bootup Entrepreneurial Society run a "social network" of some kind. People really enjoy Launch Party and other events, and have found them a great place to network.

More specifically, running Co-Founder Speed Dating, we set up Crowdvine as a mini social network. What we found is that it was heavily used - lots of people used it to check out the backgrounds of other people and it continued to be used after the fact. People who couldn't make it to the event checked in and contacted people, some of which actually resulted in companies being founded.

Back to Twitter. Or, more specifically,, an open source "clone" of Twitter. The company behind it is launching - basically, a fully hosted *version* similar to (and interoperable with) Twitter. It also supports a few extras that Twitter doesn't -- like tagging of user profiles (great to do stuff like #cofounder_wanted or #mentor to show lists of users) and groups (great for setting up more "channelized" communications or question / answer about specific topics -- e.g. a "Legal" group).

So, the concept is to run this at something like,,,, etc. etc. - one in any region that wants to take responsibility to run such a thing.

Each site would serve as a mini social network / hub -- listing profiles of entrepreneurs, mentors, service providers, and anyone else from the regional technology areas that wants to participate.

I'm most definitely not ready to just go ahead with this. Running infrastructure like this is something that has to stay up. Picking a domain is important -- the "namespace" is what defines the community, in part. And, if we go with as a base, it's actually less interesting if we just stand up one instance - we need at least one other network to commit to setting up and federating with us.

So, those of you have said that Vancouver / Bootup should set up "yet another social network", what do you think? Is this type of federated microblogging a good choice? Go kick the tires on - set up an account, fill out your profile, tag yourself, and start searching for other people.

Other suggestions for tools or requirements for such a system? I'm still not convinced we need something, but I do feel that we need to connect more, to tell the stories that are happening all over Vancouver, and all over Canada.