I was thinking about how much I miss the internet days of old - things like p2p music sharing and AIM. One of the cool features of AIM was that when you were online, you were able to set a status message and have profile text, but it was ephemeral - when you weren’t online, that message wasn’t there, nor was your profile.

I also miss the days of logging onto a p2p network and browsing through someone’s hard drive for the music they shared. There was something weirdly intimate about the way people curated their files and songs. It also led to finding a lot of very interesting music - say you did a search for a song you liked, you would be able to see what other songs people who liked that song were listening to and sharing.

Sojourn was an experiment in trying to create a journal that is only online when you are. When someone goes to your journal, it would ask your computer for a list of posts that you shared with them. Using crypto, computers can share information while obscuring it from any coordinating servers.

In contrast to twitter or facebook, your data is only online when you are. In contrast to scuttlebutt, your data is only sent when requested and you host your data, instead of having everyone replicate your data around.

One of the interesting features is that with sojourn, you could publish information to the server saying that you left a comment on a post, but only people who had your key and the original post would be able to know that you left a comment, everyone else would just see a meaningless hash.

I never really was able to push sojourn very far, but as a proof of concept, I was able to put together a plain text protocol that supported posts and commenting on posts while keeping the data on your hard drive instead of in the cloud.