I have a dream that one day we'll have an open source system that functions in a distributed/federated way and overlaps in functionality with:
- Twitter, for the "stream of consciousness", instant aspect and/or
- Facebook, for the photo sharing/keeping up with old friends, etc. and/or
- Blogs, for the ability to quickly publish any prose and/or
- IRC, for the ability to instantly chat about any topic with complete strangers and/or
- Geocities, for the ability to easily publish static websites and/or
- Forums, for the ability to have long, deep, asynchronous conversations with a small or large group of other interesting parties.
Theses are the services that I've enjoyed using on the web, but most of them are dying/dead now because the companies that own them add cruft and bullshit to keep their investors happy and their users clicking on ads (HN has been surprisingly resilient to that, for very straightforward reasons).
Ideally such a system would be fairly straightforward for any nerd to setup on their server (just like phpBB and friends who just require copying/pasting a folder on a server with mod_php, that is pretty much any server), and then their friends/family could sign up and join there. There have been attempts at this (eg. Diaspora), but nothing really ever made anything compelling.
I think there's something nice about relative stability. For example, some phpBB forums out there have had active members for more than a decade, with very little functionality added. Similarly, I like that IRC is the same now than it was 20 years ago.
There's something to be done here, and it probably won't come out of silicon valley.