Two more experiences with open-source social media

Recently, I’ve had two positive experiences with one old and one new open-source social media software. Here’s my ever-so-limited take on them as a lowly end-user. (For earlier experiences, see this post.)

gnusocialGNUSocial. The plain vanilla format looks decent enough, and does a good job of microblogging, with 15 language options. (Each instance can set the maximum limit of characters per post.) An installation can crosspost to Twitter, though not all free-hosted options allow it.

GNUSocial is the continuation of the software used at before the owner installed a new type which I’ve yet to figure out. I was not able to download the backup file on the site.

My experience with the theme disappointed, with several glitches that were never addressed, such as the inability to edit my profile.

Experience with the Twitter-looking qvitter theme, which I tried at, was very nice, though it gives up threaded conversations. (One can toggle back and forth between the original and qvitter formats, however.) With a few clicks in qvitter, one can finally see the thread and context, so it’s not an entire wash. Overall, because it’s a stable program and works well, a 4 out of 5 stars.

withknownKnown. As a part of the indieweb effort, two developers have knocked the ball out of the ballpark by allowing crossposting to, and by pulling in likes and comments from, sites like Twitter and Facebook into its posts. See it work in the developers’ stream. Other services like Flickr (isn’t that one passé?), Foursquare, and Soundcloud can be connected as well. The Pro option connects to Google+ (and the self-hosted option, I think).

Still in beta, features are coming on rapidly. A few themes are available. I was impressed that the bookmarklet worked perfectly in Opera browser. A number of formats besides microblogging statuses is possible, including blog posts, check-ins, photos, and audio, among others. Not sure how the pro option will affect its open-source status. That’s a worry. Because of that, especially, and considering it’s still in beta, we give it a 3.5 out of 5. (But, wow, do I like it.)

In both, people have been very helpful. As the latter service grows, however, expect support to be a paid option.

With these two social-media platforms, and with other options mentioned in the link in the first paragraph, there’s really no reason to feel limited by walled gardens of commercial offerings.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

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