Third anniversary of Identi.ca
It's a pretty dense anniversary time for me, falling between July 1st, Canada Day, the national holiday of my adopted home, and July 4th, Independence Day. the national holiday of my home. The first emphasizes confederation -- coming together for the common good -- while the second emphasizes individual autonomy. In between is today, July 2nd, is the third anniversary of the launch of identi.ca .
In 2008, when I started Identi.ca, I was on vacation with my family at Lake Tahoe, in Nevada. I get pretty bad jet lag, so I was up at 5AM, fiddling with the code for a project I'd been working on for a few months -- the software that is now called StatusNet. Twitter went down that morning, and I took the opportunity to open up to the public the site I'd been using to test the software with ~150 close friends. Within 36 hours we had 10,000 users and I'd moved the site twice; now we have over 450,000 on that site alone.
It's been a fun three years for me -- I've learned a lot of things. How to run an Open Source project (and how not to); how to raise venture capital; how to build a company. As this company, StatusNet, has evolved, Identi.ca has shifted from a central part of the business to more or less a showcase for the software we build. And the community has changed, too -- it's become more focused on Open Source and open web practitioners and activists.
Our software has definitely evolved, and it will continue to do so. We've just launched our new StatusNet OnDemand product -- a software-as-a-service offering for enterprise users, with easy user registration and on-boarding. In the next few weeks, we'll be releasing StatusNet 1.0 -- the software previewed in SNOD -- and moving our personal and community sites (like Identi.ca) to the new software. (Zach Copley, Brion Vibber and I give a tutorial on StatusNet at OSCON 2011, so we really want to have 1.0 out by then. You can count backwards to figure out when identi.ca will move.)
Through this all we've had tremendous support from the Identi.ca community. The idea that social networking should be a medium and not a product; that you should control your own data and network presence; and that network users are participants, not livestock, has resonated with a lot of people. I consider many of them my friends (except the spammers), and I think I speak for everyone at StatusNet in saying that we couldn't do this without you.
I'm looking forward to the enhanced federated social network behaviour we'll see after 1.0 develops. We still have a lot to do, but I think we'll have a chance to reflect on how good this experience is getting. I hope those of you who've come this far will be pleasantly surprised by what lies ahead.