You have all seen Twitter, and some of you, maybe even most of you are using Twitter. You have a lot of followers, you tweet a lot, you might even have it hooked up to your phone? But what happens when it goes down? What happens when you want to switch to another Twitter-Like service? What is a Laconica Server?
A Laconica server is open-source Twitter Server that interacts with other Laconica Servers. Each small community, that can be based around a single topic, has its own members and public feed. When you want to follow your friend on another community, you are able to because the servers are 'federated' and can talk to each other. Don't get it? Maybe this will help...
How a Laconica Server works.
So, for the most part, it is the same core functionality as Twitter. You can send messages up to 140 characters, you can send @replies, and you can follow people. (Private/Direct Messages are not supported yet) The API for all of the function Twitter offers is built in. XMPP for use with Jabber and Google Talk is built in. For the most part it is the same experience, and now with both Spaz and Twhirl supporting Laconica Servers, plus the added benefit of SMS built-in, I don't see any reasons not to use it.
So what are the benefits?
Because the entire project is open source, that means that things like 'Track' are completely available to users. 3rd Parties can expand on the Laconica servers and make features that a particular community wants. Also, these servers thrive on being able to have smaller groups of people to create more interesting conversation. In my 3-4 weeks of using the TwitArmy Laconica server (army.twit.tv), I can follow the Public Timeline instead having to filter things and use the home feed. Not only does this create more interesting discussion, but servers don't go down due to a high amount of viewers.
So what does this mean for the future?
While currently this is currently not the most used technology, it can mean big things in the future. Being able to expand on a growing community of people micro-blogging about what they are interested about can mean that you can, using track, instantly follow conversations that you are interested about. No matter what server you are on, you can connect with people from other communities. It means that we can break down the walls of Twitter and hopefully other micro-blogging services to make something even greater than it is. Its like email on steroids!
So, I hope that after reading this paragraph, you now know more than you did 5 minutes ago. I really do hope that this technology can expand into a giant web of communities all having great conversations about the world we live in. Because (from the Discovery Commerical) "The World is just awesome!"