There was a post this morning on Hacker News, asking what should replace XMPP, an open chat protocol which is now practically dead. If you look at the development of social media over the last 10 years, the biggest failure in my opinion is that nothing is open – if anything we have gone backwards.
When ‘web 2.0’ was still a cool buzzword there was talk about the semantic web and open data formats so that everything could be interoperable, but instead everything we have today is siloed. At the time at least chat applications were open enough (i.e. the protocols had been reverse engineered or specs were released) that you could use a third party client reliably, but now even that is nearly impossible.
Whether federation or P2P or something else is the answer, we as developers need to work together to find an open solution to messaging and social media that isn’t controlled or monitored by a single entity.