Blogmesh aims te make blogging more social, and in doing so create an alternative for existing social networks. The main idea is to connect existing blogs in a way that resembles other social networks, like Twitter. Simply follow your friends and see a timeline of their updates.
Because blogs are usually self-hosted, this means Blogmesh has the potential to become a decentralized network that belongs to its users, and where every user owns their own content.
Blogmesh uses existing, well-established standards like RSS. This means that many existing sites are already Blogmesh-ready. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Start blogging
To use Blogmesh, you’ll need a blog. This will be where you posts your own updates, on a platform that you control. You can use your existing blog or set up a new one. A simple self-hosted WordPress blog will work well. The current proof-of-concept implementation is a WordPress plugin, but the concept is in no way tied to a specific platform.
When you set up a blog and create a couple of posts, your blog’s home page will usually display a neat timeline of your posts.
In the example above, you, Mike, Kim and Alex have all set up individual blogs. Mike and Kim are long-time bloggers, and you convinced Alex to install WordPress now that she’s quit Facebook.
Step 2: Connect to other blogs and websites
With Blogmesh, you can connect your blog to others. Friends with a great blog? Follow them. A news outlet you enjoy? Follow them too. Let’s say you add Mike, Kim and Alex to your list of Blogmesh friends. And since you like to be kept up-to-date, we’ll add a newspaper website as well. With Blogmesh, you can follow any site that supplies an RSS feed.
Pictured above is what that currently looks like in the WordPress admin. Our aim is to provide a “follow” button as a browser add-on, so you can add a blog by simply clicking a button. You can edit, trash and delete friends just like you do with posts.
Step 3: Your blog becomes a social network
When you’re connected to other bloggers, your homepage becomes a timeline of everybody’s posts. In our example, you’ll see your friends’ posts mixed in with your own. But only when you’re logged in. Much like on Twitter, your timeline is only available to you when you’re logged in. Other visitors will still simply see your blog. Clicking a post from a friend will take you to their blog, where you can read the full post and leave comments.
In our example, Kim and Alex are also Blogmeshers, and they follow their own selection of great blogs. Mike doesn’t use Blogmesh. But since his blog provides an RSS feed, you and Kim can still follow him.
At this time, we’re developing a proof-of-concept Blogmesh WordPress plugin. This early prototype provides Blogmesh’s basic functionality, but is far from stable. It’s also not optimized for performance, and likely won’t work very well when you follow a lot of friends. That being said, it’s exciting to see the potential. UPDATE: If you’re feeling adventurous, you can now help test the plugin and the Chrome extension.