What is Secure Scuttlebutt?

Secure Scuttlebutt is a social network where you and your friends share your posts between your own computers. When I write a post, it's stored on my own computer in a folder. When I connect to the network, I download all the new posts from all my friends, and my friends download my new post to their computer.

Secure Scuttlebutt (SSB for short) was built by a bunch of folks in New Zealand, but started when a guy called Dominic Tarr wanted a good way to stay connected to people from his sailboat. Since the internet isn't always available, he built a system that updated when he was in port, and kept a local copy when he was out to sea. SSB was born out of those experiments, and has been used by all sorts of off-grid, offline folks to stay in touch with each other.

SSB mascot, Hermes the hermit crab

With SSB, you don't have to worry about a company like Facebook taking control of what you see or who sees your posts. There's no middle-man between you and your friends – your friends are the network, and you trust them instead of a company.

To get on SSB, you download an app to your computer or phone. This app will create an .ssb folder where all your posts and all your friends' posts will live. It will also create your private and public keys, which will keep your identity safe, your private messages private, and ensure that nobody can impersonate you on the network.

The app I use is called Patchwork, and it's one of the original SSB apps out there. It runs on my laptop. There's also an Android app called Manyverse. Both are pretty easy to install.

Once you've got an app installed, you'll need to find some friends! SSB works without any connection to the outside internet. When two SSB apps are on the same network, they will find each other and share content – just like gossipping. The content that's shared will stay on your device, and you can read it whenever you want. But what if you don't know anybody with an SSB app, how do you make new friends? You need to find an internet Pub to meet some new folks.

SSB Pubs are just like regular pubs – they're internet places to meet new SSB friends, and stay connected with old ones. You need an invitation to join a pub, but once you're in, you'll be able to make friends and download posts from them over the internet. You can find a list of open-invitation pubs on the SSB wiki.

SSB isn't actually a social network though. It's really a gossip protocol for sharing information that's stored and shared by your peers in turn. People have built social networks, correspondence chess games, music publishing apps, code repositories, and tons of other applications on top of SSB. There's a whole decent(ralized) world out there to explore.

Oh and when you get online, find me at the address below. Just paste it into the search box:

@+aQL1YGSyeEIhPRMcw96/ztOy41RoKSGD7la7BUZVmA=.ed25519

<3, Ike

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