I'd like to make a web app (probably on replit since it makes self-hosting dead easy) that has plugins for a bunch of other sites. so you connect to all your other accounts, and then this app imports your data and publishes it to a single feed for you.
Obviously starting audience would be programmers, but I bet it could expand to a general audience too.
The key is privacy at the data-layer, and I have a start with my programming language for board games: http://www.adama-lang.org/
It's not RSS (which is a bit of a shame), but it scales better since it bakes in pushing / pulling patterns, where RSS only pulls.
Also, there is another protocol called Pubsubhubbub (yeah, I know...) which adds push on top of Atom/RSS. I know of at least one company, Superfeedr, that runs an implementation as a service (they were acquired by Medium): https://superfeedr.com/
The problem, I have found, is no one wants to pay for hosting. No one wants to self host. And by no one I mean no one that is using Facebook /Twitter / Insta / etc. and for this to really work, I think you need everyone hosting their own “log”.
Interested in seeing more work done in this space and am glad to see others feel the same as I do.
Self hosting needs to be as easy as plugging a box into your router. This means some type of DNS or other way to find your node given all the ISPs failure to provide fixed IPs. Also a super easy management method and access controls (public, private, friends).
I have a lot more thoughts on that.
I think an internet that is mostly self-hosted is a healthy one and unlocks a lot of things I’ve been noodling with over the years. I’m hopeful someone smarter than me is close to getting us there.
Actually I made a little proof of concept for this a week ago: https://github.com/jacobobryant/Feedstuff
Meaning an sqlite database hosted with the app's code? How will "host it for free" scale when your app goes viral and you have a million plus (or a billion plus) users?
So everyone has their own free hosting account with repl.it and runs an app instance on it? Yes, technically that's "free" as in "no cost", but it's not "free" as in "no effort". The latter is the kind of "free" that Facebook users expect.
I'm not talking about the effort involved in opening an account. I'm talking about the effort involved in managing one's own instance of an app. That is not zero, and nobody, not repl.it or anyone else, can magically make it zero. But it is zero for Facebook users, because they aren't managing anything; Facebook is.
If, OTOH, your idea is that repl.it does all the managing (what happens if the server hosting the app goes down? how is the data backed up? etc., etc.), then we're back to the scaling problem: how do you scale that to a huge number of users without either not being free, or adopting the same business model that Facebook has (the avoiding of which was supposed to be the reason for doing all this in the first place)?
A “creator” will figure out how to host, be it a Wordpress.com site on the casual end, or something more specialized for the savvier creator.
A good first step might be making a personal site generator. Put in links to your twitter/youtub/substack/medium/whatever accounts, and then you get a nice looking site with all your content in one place. Maybe throw in a subscribe button so people can get email digests of all your content.
and then, almost as a side effect, anyone who uses the site generator also is publishing it all as an atom feed.
In practice, this would probably start out with plugins for only sites that make data public. Not perfect, but still useful.
You could have the aggregate behind a paywall, you could have donations or ads as well.