Sunday, March 10, 2019

Different Choices: Manyverse and Scuttlebutt

Mirrored on Pillowfort

This post is part of a series where I explore and review alternatives to the more popular social media platforms. This series was inspired by "It May Be Time to Start Making Different Choices," 30 December 2018.

Since posting this, I have been corrected on some mistakes I made. See below for corrections, and many thanks to Dan Hassan.
ref: @NeB4q4Hy9IiMxs5L08oevEhivxW+/aDu/s/0SkNayi0=.ed25519
The boring bit
Scuttlebutt is what makes it all work. If you're not a techie-geek, that's all you really need to know. If you are a techie-geek, my descriptions of it are probably a dumbing-down that you don't need (it's dumbing-down for my sake, not for anyone else's; I know enough of this material to get myself into trouble, but not always out of it).

Manyverse is the program (one of them) that lets you access the platform. See also my post on Patchwork for more about how it all works. Patchwork also uses Scuttlebutt, but at present, they don't cross-connect easily (it's being worked on).

When they say "You control your data" they mean this literally. Your data and the data of the people you interact with is stored on your device. If you want it gone, delete it. [See corrections at the bottom]

Less boring
Manyverse looks a lot more polished than Patchwork does, and while it's possible to connect to pubs just like with Patchwork, it's missing since functionality. Patchwork allows subscription to tags (like hashtags on Twitter) but Manyverse doesn't seem to recognize tags at all; you can add them to posts you make, but you can't search for them.

It's also difficult to connect directly to individuals unless you share a WiFi network with them to perform the handshake.

And if you have both Manyverse and Patchwork, a computer and a smartphone, you have to have different profiles. For every device you have, you need a separate profile for. There is a workaround, but it's prone to errors and issues, especially if you accidently log in to two devices simultaneously.

Manyverse is a smartphone-exclusive program, and as such, it has a capability built into it that I haven't seen elsewhere: you can write and read when you're offline. When you next get online, it updates your writings to those you've shaken hands with and theirs to you.

Manyverse is a lot easier to limit yourself to a small circle than Aether or even Patchwork offer.

Google Play store


There are actually backups, in the form of replication. Everyone you connect to has a backup of your data, and because they do, you can't really delete anything. That helps serve the mechanism that allows you (and everyone else) to read messages while you and they are offline. But even still, there's no corporation (yet) out to farm your data for their own purposes.

Hypothetically, a megacorp could set up a pub of their own, but the pool of users they could connect to at this time, and probably well into the future, is sufficiently small that it's honestly probably not even worth the effort.

More Different Choices posts