Introducing Tent

Tent is a new protocol for open, distributed social networking.

What we believeThe Tent Manifesto

What makes Tent different?

Tent is decentralized, not federated or centralized. Any Tent server can connect to any other Tent server. All features are available to any server as first-class citizens. Anyone can host their own Tent server. Tent servers can also be run as Tor hidden services to create a social darknet for at-risk organizers and activists. Anyone can write applications that connect to Tent in order to display or create user content.

Relationships are between users, independent of their service providers, so users take their data and relationships with them when they change Tent service providers. Every user decides which other users can follow them and what information will be shared with each of their followers.

You are your memories and relationships

We use social networks to advertise our identities, communicate with friends, families, co-workers, customers, and brands. The content we create in the form of messages, uploaded media, and social graphs is not only valuable, it has come to define each of us. This information, our relationships and our data needs to be under our own control. When a user leaves a social service provider for any reason, that user should be able to take their relationships, not just a copy of their data, with them. Tent lets them.

Planning for the Future

Tent supports extensible formats for post types and profile information. As developers' needs change they are free to create new open formats for data exchange. Tent is built on HTTPS, JSON and OAuth, each of which handles hundreds of millions of transactions online each day. We designed Tent to grow and adapt with its users.

The Tent Ecosystem

Tent is not specifying the economics of an ecosystem. There will be many options for users, from free to paid to self hosted, from ad-supported to advertising-free, with providers that serve different market segments and types of users. Since anyone can set up a Tent server or become a service provider, niche needs should quickly be met, based on demand.

There are many spectrums of need:

technically experienced inexperienced
rich poor
ad tolerant ad intolerant
verified pseudonyms
public private
centralized distributed

Next steps

The first Tent server implementation will be available as an open source repository very soon. A hosted version for users unwilling or unable to host their own will follow quickly.

In the meantime, we encourage anyone with feedback or suggestions on the protocol or who is developing apps or services supporting Tent to add your services to the list in the GitHub repository via pull request. The same goes for post-types and profile info-types: a community site will launch soon, for now, use pull requests or reach out directly:

Read more about Tent in the FAQ and developer documentation.