Welcome to Solar

Sometimes, I feel it starting...


Welcome to the Solar System.

SOLAR, which stands for Storage and Other Layers Added to Relays, is an entirely new way to think about and interact with social media and other digital platforms. Building off of a foundation established by the nostr relay system, SOLAR is a framework for building decentralized, interoperable, and local-first social media platforms. These are some technical terms, so lets take a moment to break down exactly what they mean and why any of this should matter to you.

Decentralized means that all of the system's data is spread out across a number of different computers. Current standards like Instagram and Tiktok hold everyone's information behind a locked door where they have full control of who can see it and how it gets used. If you don't understand why this might be a bad thing, read up on the events surrounding Cambridge Analytica in 2015. To put it simply, centralized systems create power imbalances that can be used to take advantage of and manipulate people participating in the platform. I don't want that to even be a possibility here, so all of Solar is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to run your own section of the network (a "star") for yourself, your friends, family, and even your community at large.

Interoperable means that Solar is designed to build platforms that work well together. In the same way that Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp have the same underlying account system, Solar is meant to offer one account which gives access to any number of unique platforms - each one connected by the same underlying core of information. The platform hosting this post is meant as a blog, but these same posts can be accessed by any platform built with Solar's development framework. This holds true for friends lists, direct messages, account information, and much more. Taking a step beyond decentralization, Solar actively encourages an ecosystem where anyone can build the social media platform that works for them.

Local-first means that anyone who runs their own star holds all the system's information primarily on their own computer. They have full control over where the data is shared, saved, and backed up. Because of this standard, Solar works with or without a link to the rest of the internet. Since an offline social media system can still be accessed within a local network, Solar can offer the benefits and tooling of social media and web-based tools to remote and off-grid communities without requiring them to connect up to the rest of the world - all you need is a computer, a wireless router, and a power source. This same pattern of can be used to create family-friendly networks which are capable of introducing young people to the digital world while sheltering them from some of the less wholesome aspects of the digital world.

Between these three features of decentralization, interoperability, and locality, the Solar System is designed to revolutionize the way we interact with social media and the digital world. Not only does it aim to offer comparable utility to our current suite of online tools, it aims to do so in a way that is resistant to the practices of data harvesting and advertisement that plague our online lives. In a world where people are unhappy with the status quo but unsure of what they can about it, Solar aims to light up the path that can lead us towards a better tomorrow.

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