What is Solid?
Solid is a new protocol stack to have socially linked data. It builds on top of current web protocols.
See this introduction: https://solid.inrupt.com/how-it-works
State of Solid for Social
The promise and premise of Solid can be boiled down to these core concepts:
- The user retains control of their data as it is stored on their own pod instead of a centralized service
- "Pods" are datastores that are under control of one user.
- they can be hosted by the users themselves or part of managed hosting
- It is a logical entity, not necessarily a single installation/server
- if it is offline, the data is gone from the web, unless some cachine is implemented (not yet specified)
- get your own here: https://inrupt.net/
- Data can be linked across Pods, so the comment from A can point to the picture of B
- These links also apply to people to map the social graph
- The architecture makes it easy to use the data in different web services and to move from service to service.
- Notifications ensure that these links become visible
There are a few limitations though:
- Moving data from pod to pod is theoretically possible but there is no established way yet to keep the linking intact in such a case
- There is no meaningful abuse protection built into the protocols yet
- "Anything can link to Anything" - there seems to be no option yet to block a link or a link notification
Solid is a very interesting protocol, as it puts data and control into users hands. There is little to none useful UX or UI yet though. That makes it hard to visualise a product on top of the protocol.
The main drawback in my mind is the complete absence of built-in protection against things like spam or abuse.
There also is missing a working concept on caching and aggregating (if my social app shows me the content from 100 users, does the browser open connections to 100 pods or does the social app fetches and caches for me?)