A brief history
Yarn.social was originally created around July 2020 when James Mills – the creator and original author of many of the software components – was looking for decentralised social media alternatives (probably for the umpteenth time!) and came across an interesting spec and associated software: all based around a very simple file format called Twtxt.
As a former Facebook Inc. engineer, James was acutely aware of the negative effects ’traditional’ social media has on not only individuals, but on communities as a whole as well. He quickly set out to try out a few clients (e.g., twet) and eventually started building one himself in the form of a web application. Suddenly, the first (of what is now many) Yarn.social pods was born, and twtxt.net launched on 20 July 2020.
Since then the project has progressed through several growth phases, including, but not limited to: re-branding, collaboration in the open source community, and many self-hosted, independent pods.
One of the primary reasons why Yarn.social was created in the first place was out of frustration with traditional social media and blogging platforms.
Traditional social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, TikTok, Twitter and many others are all centred around a few key ideas:
- Driving user engagement;
- Collecting user data and metadata;
- Selling that data to advertisers; and
- Showing users targeted advertising.
Most folks are okay with this, but many don’t understand the impact this has on their lives, and the cost to consumers overall in our everyday lives.
If something is free, you are the product
There are a few side effects of platforms such as the ones mentioned above, and, as you’re probably using one right now, here are the big ones:
- Privacy is non-existent: these companies know more about you than you know about yourself, your family and your friends;
- Data breaches happen all the time: data is leaked, bad actors / hackers can access your photos, your messages, your private lives; and
- What users actually see is continually manipulated, often to drive up engagement and drive up advertising revenue.
This is why decentralised social media is so important; even more so today than ever before, we would argue! If you have something to say, an opinion to share, an article you want to publish, photos or videos to share, why should your data privacy and security be up for sale?
With Yarn.social, it isn’t! We believe in an open, honest, transparent social media experience. Yarn.social is made up of a very simple specification and set of protocols that are themselves based on standard web technologies that anyone can explore, implement and participate in.
The Yarn.social platform – its software components, specifications and ecosystem – has a few simple rules:
- We do not collect or store any personal identifiable information (i.e., no PII);
- We do not track any user behaviour, user data or metadata whatsoever (i.e., no analytics);
- We do not serve ads at all (i.e., no advertising); and
- Your data is your own: delete it at any time; take your data with you (i.e., user data privacy and control).
Yarn.social’s vision is simple:
To provide an open, privacy-focused and transparent social media experience for all.
At Yarn.social, we like to keep things simple, therefore our philosophy is just that, and something we adhere to when building the platform, making improvements, discussing new features and ideas, and collaborating with others:
- Keep things as simple as possible;
- Do not compromise on data security and user privacy;
- Software should be lightweight;
- Self-hosted software is preferable to cloud services or SaaS; and
- Ship early, ship often.
Come join us today! 🤗