Truth.Social – Under the Hood

| January 23, 2022

FediverseTruth.Social will go live sometime this quarter, and I did a little research on Truth Social and was fascinated by their Open-Source page.

It will run on Mastodon, often referred to as the “Twitter Killer.” It is free, open-source software for popular desktop and handheld devices.  First launched in March 2016, it was so bold and ambitious that in early 2019, Gab switched to Mastodon’s code.  Impressive.

You can find a wealth of videos and articles about Mastodon vs. Twitter and a new lexicon of terms, and it all essentially boils down to one thing.  A brilliant young geek with a free-flowing supply of caffeine drinks and pizza can build a Twitter-like application in a single day.  After that, it’s anything you can do, I can do better.

Rather than slog through all of that point-by-point, let’s cut to the chase with two obvious questions:  As Mastodon does not, nor ever will, offer advertising or monetization, how will Trump use it to pay the bills?   After all, passing the hat is mighty a hard way to raise billions.

Secondly, and more to the point, what will this mean for the rest of us?

No doubt, this will depend on your point of view, and here is my opinion, as a retired Silicon Valley systems analyst specializing in communications.  (My clients included AT&T, Hewlett Packard, Lockheed Martin, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle.)

If Trump is telegraphing his punch, as I believe he is, Mastodon and Trump.Social signals a bold strategic vision that will ultimately transform our online world for the better.

Assuming he prevails, trust me, folks, no matter how it all plays out, we’ll love it.   With this in mind, join me now for a 30,000’ high view of how this could all play out.  (Dear Readers, please spread this far and wide.)

Social Media Sharecropping

Facebook is presently rebranding itself as Meta as everyone talks about the Metaverse and the future of augmented reality.  Is this visionary thinking?  Or, is this more about hubris and corporate survival?

In terms of attracting new audiences, people follow the content.  Yes, it’s always lovely to chat with family and friends, but the big traffic draws are the talented, independent content producers and their various pages and channels.

These famous independent content producers are the essential geese that lay the golden eggs for big tech, but what are they doing to them now?  They’re unleashing censorship miniguns on entire flocks of them.  How is that working out?

Whether you operate a page or a channel, if you are on a centralized social media platform such as Meta, YouTube, Instagram, and such, the new reality is that free speech is now a historical concept.

If you have not been shadowbanned, canceled, or demonetized, you know someone who is, and you’re thinking, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”  Plus, this censorship has awful collateral impacts as well.

For example, if you are hosting a radio show or podcast, will you book a guest whose views are verboten by the censors and risk losing your channel?

Or will the need to support your family make you pass them by for more politically acceptable guests.  If so, how will you feel about going from being a seeker of truth to a submissive shill?

Or, more to the point, how long will it take for your audience to begin asking the very same question?

The war on small businesses in America is bitter with the Marxist hatred for this new Bourgeoisie.  So these are terrifying times for those who have invested immense amounts of money, love, and time into their pages and channels.

Worse yet, is the ever-present threat of being ripped away from audiences.  Audiences that have taken you years to build because of a 20-something whim or an A.I. “glitch.”

In the early days, social media was a wonderful place to shop the marketplace of ideas.  Yet even then, those who decided to build a significant page or channel knew the score.  You would always be a sharecropper, never owning the land you farmed and constantly struggling to please.

Back then, it worked as long as the landowners were benevolent.

Today, the landowners have become mean drunks with woke sensibilities.  Hence centralized social media platforms have been eminently successful at destroying small businesses and lives, but to what end?

The problem now is that their evil intentions are all backfiring for the same timeless reason.  Overreach  The greatest weakness of evil.

An excellent example of overreach comes from the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.  At the outset, the victories of Operation Barbarossa were stunning, and the Nazis were confident the Russians would fold and quit as the French had.

Thanks to their hubris, they were blindsided by the dogged tenacity of Russian soldiers, and realizing the actual reality of the situation, one German Colonel, penned the following analogy in his diary:

“The German Army in fighting Russia is like an elephant attacking a host of ants.  The elephant will kill thousands, perhaps even millions, of ants, but in the end their numbers will overcome him, and he will be eaten to the bone.”-Colonel Bernd Von Kleist

If we apply this to present-day circumstances, big tech has censored and outcasted many of its top stars, and what’s left are submissive sword eaters and ventriloquists (no offense intended.)   Stomp, stomp, stomp.

Now, countless successful, independent content producers have to navigate a mish-mash of up-and-coming social media platforms.  While the names can change, the deal essentially remains the same for now; like it or lump it.  You’ll always be a sharecropper.

But that could change once there is a new sheriff in town and Truth.Social will not be just another app that big tech can censor and intimidate.

How will this work?  To frame in terms of our Operation Barbarossa analogy, here is the little guy’s view of Trump’s vision.  Big Tech oligarchs are now the elephants, and we are the ants.  Our battle cry will be, “swarm baby swarm,” and we shall devour them all.

The first step to making that happen will be for Trump to create a pathway to the Promised Land for independent content producers.  Stable, high-speed access and a place where what’s theirs-is-theirs and where nobody can ever censor them again.  They’ll go there in the droves, and masses of people will follow them.

How will Trump draw them there?  Not with the Metaverse, but with the Fediverse.

Social Media 2.0

Trump’s choice to run Truth.Social on Mastodon (a.k.a. “Twitter Killer)” will be the front-facing part of the overall vision.  Trump likes the format, and this app offers many superior features to Twitter, such as 500 characters long, micro messages called Toots.  (And yes, “toots” sounds as geeky as a college bong.)

Is your Twitter account still accessible?  If so, you can download your entire history with a cross-posting application, and then it’s yours, even if you get canceled or shadowbanned on Twitter.

No doubt, when Truth.Social goes live; we should expect to see all of Trump’s pre-censorship tweets.

Yes, it’s going to be something new to learn, but for those who want to keep the Twitter look and feel, you can select that, and you’ll be up to speed in no time.

Now, here is the good news.

Thanks to something called the Fediverse, the very same kind of free, open-source solutions are available for independent content publishers to clone their content on YouTube, Instagram, and other centralized social media platforms, to a platform they own and control.

But that’s just the beginning.

Consider this.  We send emails and SMS text messages to each other every day, and no matter the device, operating system, or software used, it all works seamlessly.  Yet, we do not see this kind of interoperability between centralized social media platforms.  But what if we could?

Here is the good news.  Mastodon and these other open-source social media apps are all part of something called the Fediverse.

In the Fediverse, each independent content producer can host their content on whatever app or server they choose and share and access texts, blogs, images, and media.  They can also implement a paywall and self-promote within their content messaging for income to pay the bills.

The great news is that with the Fediverse, you’re no longer a sharecropper.  What’s yours-is-yours and you can never be disappeared.  What this means is that you’re not building on sand anymore.  With the Fediverse, you’re building on bedrock that will be yours alone to do with as you please.

That’s nice, but it’s time for a little cold water here.

Since March 2016, Mastodon has taken six years to build a user base of 4.4M.

Given that Twitter has 69.3 million active users to date, at this pace, it will be 2080 or more before Mastodon can lay claim to the title, “Twitter Killer.”   Wow, that’s a long stretch, and it makes you wonder.  Given all of the benefits of Mastodon and the Fediverse, what’s putting the brakes on mainstream adoption?

This pointed question brings us to the crux of the matter – reliable high-speed Internet access.

Drain and Acquire

In the Trump strategy as I see it, all of the Fediverse open-source social media apps like Mastodon are like a wicked left jab.  It will be the most efficient and least costly way to siphon off Big Tech audiences, and with the Fediverse, there will be a massive incentive in addition to unfettered content – user privacy.

There is no privacy with centralized social media, and users know it.  When they follow their favorite independent content producers over to the Fediverse, they’ll learn that their privacy is respected.

To their delight, they will learn that they alone own and control all the profile information about themselves and how they express themselves on the Fediverse.  Then they can decide which sites can access their profiles stored in their profile hosting accounts.

So, the content will be the initial siphon, and privacy will be the mainstream drain.  As monetization is a thorny issue with the Fediverse, revenue is not the right strategic move.

The right strategic move is about the cost of doing business.  For centralized social media companies, the cost of doing business is massive and requires vast campuses and data centers.  The reason is skim, whether that is transaction fees, data harvesting, or both.

The point of skim is to make it as painless or as invisible as possible.  We’re not blind.  We know they are secretly harvesting, building entire libraries about us, and selling them to the highest bidder for our time online.  Or, they take small but tolerable transaction fees from us.

A case in point is Cryptocurrencies.  In our checkbook registers, we have a simple, single-entry system.  Payee, check amount and reaming balance.   So why do popular blockchain cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin need dual entry system ledgers?  In a word, skim.

Those who mint the coins can, over time, use transaction fees to return the total value of these coins to themselves.  In other words, all kinds of skim are possible with a double-entry ledger system, which primarily benefits unseen third parties.

What would happen if cryptocurrency that uses personal vaults and money or anything else of value pops up and people can transact without 3rd parties using a single entry system.  There would be no skim, so how do you pay the bills this way?   The same way banks do with checking accounts.  You pay a monthly fee for the use of the checking account.

But here is the best part.  A cryptocurrency based on a single entry system requires a tenth of the physical resources needed to maintain a dual-entry ledger system for the benefit of third parties to the transactions.

The same concept holds for the Fediverse, but let’s be more generous to Silicon Valley and say that the resources to host and serve Mastodon for 69.3 million active users would be a fourth of that Twitter requires, for example.

Why is this?  Because the Fediverse is skim-free.

Twitter is a centralized skim system designed to alter user behavior and extract personal profile information for sale to third parties.  Ergo, three-fourths of their employees, resources, campuses, data centers are needed to operate a massive, centralized, surveillance state apparatus.

Imagine what happens when they lose 25% or more of their business.  How many employees, resources, campuses, data centers will become dead weight then?

Ergo, open-source social media apps such as Mastodon will serve as Trump’s wicked left jab.  He’ll use it to methodically drain their audiences and revenue streams and when he sees an opportune moment of weakness, he’ll let loose his right hook of acquisition and take a prize.

What is the crown jewel of Trump’s big vision?  In my opinion, the crown jewel in his plan is the eventual acquisition of AT&T, and to understand why let’s take a quick look at ISPs.

The acronym stands for Internet Service Provider, and there are three tiers, so let’s break that down.

Tier 1 ISP – Carriers

No one company, organization, or individual owns the Internet.  Instead, it essentially is a collection of regional Tier 1 ISPs.  These are the carriers who own and operate the physical hardware.  In America, it’s firms such as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

A good example is companies that move freight, such as railroads, shipping, and air cargo.  Their business is about moving freight from one place to another and lots of it.  In general, think of this as the backbone infrastructure of the Internet.

Tier 2 ISP – Middlemen

If you run a new social media site, your bandwidth demands will be substantial but far from what is needed to fill a cargo ship.  Here is where tier 2 comes in, so let’s expand our shipping analogy.

While these ISPs do not own any backbone infrastructure, they do enough traffic volume to command unfettered access and favorable pricing.

Furthermore, Tier 2 ISPs provide broker connectivity between tier 1 and tier 3 ISPs, by selling middleman services.

At present, the largest Tier 2 ISP in the world is Google.  Others include Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.  In general, their service their own traffic, and as middlemen, can also offer lower rates and a wide range of services for popular sites.

Tier 3 ISP – The Last Mile

Tier 3 ISPs service small businesses and home users and are the most expensive pricing for Internet access.  Referred to as the last mile, it is not only the most costly; it is also subject to performance issues for large sites.

You can start your social media site using a Tier 3 ISP, but if you hit it big, staying with them will throttle your business due to the costs and limitations.  The way to gain affordable pricing and reliable Tier 1 access is to go through a Tier 2 ISP.

Tier 2 ISPs and Censorship

When a Tier 2 ISP like Amazon deplatforms a free speech social media site, the choices are grim because they deny these sites a necessary technology bridge to Tier 1 level service.

You either pony up a king’s ransom to buy direct Tier 1 access, or you spend the rest of the game chipping out of the rough with Tier 3 ISPs.

Ergo, this brings us to the crux of how Trump will offer free and private, open-source social media while paying the bills.

Trump’s BIG Vision

And this brings us to what Trump wants, and it’s worth more to him than the software and clever ideas he and all of us admire.

You see, Dear Readers, Trump is not aiming to be another social site struggling with the threat of ISP censorship, and that’s small potatoes because his vision of success goes way beyond big.  It’s cosmic.

If this sounds odd, then check out the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) website.

It currently shows three brands: Truth Social, TMTG+, and TMTG News.  However, after Truth.Social goes live, you’ll start to see a lot of new brands showing up.

So what does this mean?

Owning websites and software is no guarantee that you will have high-volume access to the Internet through a ‘woke’ Tier 2 ISP like Amazon.

The only reliable way to guarantee free speech for all TMTG brands and users is for TMTG to become a Tier 1 ISP.

You could look at it this way.   Why ride on a railroad when you can own it?

AT&T’s wireless business is growing but not fast enough to offset declines in the wireline business, and their defined benefit pension plan is a ticking time bomb.

Meanwhile, their DirectTV service is struggling and talking about ‘go woke, go broke’; they just told One America News (OAN) they’re getting the boot after their contract is up.  Now that they are total commie dorks, there will be no mercy for them.   Worse yet, after Starlink becomes operational, this will put even more hardship on them.

Ergo, AT&T is a bone to be chewed, and when the time is right, Trump will make his acquisition play because he will have what people genuinely want, a proper free speech system with unfettered access that is private and non-censorable.  Billions of users will flock to the TMTG system, and as the old axiom goes, there is strength in numbers.

What happens to Big Tech after Trump acquires AT&T.

They’ll have to remain relevant to a huge percentage of Internet users who are sick of the censorship and lack of privacy.  Likewise, independent content producers who are sick of playing to ‘woke’ whims and sensibilities and no longer want to suffer from battered wife syndrome.

The bottom line is this.  Nothing sells like honesty and free speech, and after the TMTG system goes live, Silicon Valley oligarchs are finally going to get their rightful comeuppance.

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