There's been some significant announcements regarding the Scuttlebutt distributed social network protocol over the last couple weeks. The news that jumped to the forefront of tech social media was the announcement of planetary.social, a VC backed play aimed at competing with Facebook. Nothing has been released yet, but they have a website with some basic info and you can sign up for future notifications. Manton Reece and Daniel Jalkut even discussed it1 on their most recent episode of Core Intuition. I'm going to watch this development with interest, but it's not essential to what I'm doing now.
I actually missed a much more significant announcement at the beginning of January. The Manyverse SSB2 client was finally released for iOS after debuting on Android in 2018. This makes creating a private family network much more viable for my uses at least. I experimented with using Patchwork on a few computers at home at the end of last summer and though it worked well, I found that the way it ties an account to a specific device is tricky when the kids share computers, and it's limiting when you can't have it with you at all times. But we do have a few old iPhones and iPads that could be assigned to the kids for their individual accounts on the network.
After I installed Manyverse on my phone yesterday and created a new phone specific account I fired up Patchwork on my desktop computer to see if it appear as someone I could follow on my iPhone. Sure enough it did appear and I was able to subscribe to the accounts that were already known to that computer and pull in their information. The contents of my network aren't very large at the moment so that went quite smoothly. Then I did the reverse and followed my mobile account from that desktop computer so that my new account should be discoverable to everyone on our home network as long as Patchwork is running on my desktop. Next steps will be to add a few more mobile clients to the mix over the next few days. iOS 9 appears to be the main requirement so I should be able to easily come up with enough devices for the older kids.
Fairly skeptically and without fulling understanding the technology in my opinion.
Short for the Secure Scuttlebutt protocol.