[UPDATE: our Kickstarter is now funded! Thank you to everyone for moving this project forward. This is an important milestone.]
It’s been a long time coming.
Many of you have been wondering how Junto actually works. For those that are new, Junto is a new breed of social media founded to inspire authenticity. This is a community-driven mission to move beyond the existing social media paradigm and rebalance our relationship with technology.
We feel that it’s finally the right time to reveal everything. In the spirit of open ideas and open contributions, we want to be as transparent as we can about our solutions for enabling healthier patterns of communication. We don’t have all the answers, and we look forward to developing this with you all moving forward. Let’s go.
The forms we communicate through are just as important as the message itself. The evolution of social media starts with revisiting the fundamentals and redesigning them in ways that can activate our capacity. Here are some of our guiding principles:
Transparent social profiles
- We believe transparency is important in ensuring accountability. In addition to having a username/handle, your full name will also be displayed. Of course, how you choose to identify yourself is up to you.
No vanity metrics or AI-powered echo chambers
- We’ve replaced the like button with a wide range of dynamic responses as well as something called a ‘resonation.’ We will elaborate more on this in the ‘Pack’ section below, but essentially it offers a more intentional way to engage with other people’s content.
- In Junto, your follower count is set to be hidden by default. Those who wish to display theirs may opt in to do so. We want to encourage an atmosphere where this rating metric has less significance.
- We don’t leverage artificial intelligence to create newsfeeds that reinforce existing perspectives. You design your own experience.
- Say goodbye to ads that chip away 15 second increments of our lives. Junto is built on a distributed technology called Holochain, so you own your data. We won’t own, track, or sell your information.
There are an ever-expanding number of ways to create in Junto. There will be five mediums to start — longform, shortform, bullet, photo, and events. This list will grow according to what this community wants — for example, we can introduce a medium for writing poetry, initiating collaboration, recording podcasts, drawing, you get the idea. The center for expression is completely dynamic and customizable.
Each expression created in Junto can be tagged into channels. Think of channels as topics (sustainability, tech, food, etc). Defining expressions by channels is not mandatory, but makes your content more discoverable. If a specific channel doesn’t exist yet, you can be the first to create it.
When you create, you can share in one of four places — the collective, a sphere, your pack, or your den. These are the four core layers of Junto.
Let’s dive in.
Collective (Public Layer)
This is where all public expressions in Junto exist. Within the ‘Collective’, you can explore content through perspectives. A perspective is essentially a newsfeed designed with a particular intention of discovery.
There are two perspectives to start — ‘collective’ and ‘selective.’ The ‘collective’ sphere contains every public expression ever created . The ‘selective’ sphere contains expressions from specific individuals you have decided to follow.
Within each perspective, you can explore content by specific channels (topics). For example, let’s say you are in the collective sphere and want to see all expressions within the ‘sustainability’ channel. You can do so by using the search filter. You can also search for all expressions in ‘sustainability’ AND ‘food’ or all expressions in ‘sustainability’ OR ‘food.’
In addition to the default ‘collective’ and ‘following’ spheres, you can create your own spheres to organize the different circles in your life (examples above). You can name them and add who you want (they do not have to accept an invite since this is purely a way to explore content on your end). You can also customize spheres to only contain expressions from specific channels as well. The idea is to give you full sovereignty over your experience — one created by your natural intelligence and not artificially generated.
— We have one more really exciting (and groundbreaking if I may be so bold..) feature in this layer that we will reveal very soon. —
Within Junto, members will be able to create their own spheres. These communities will have their own optional layer of privacy. We are also working on building a custom suite of tools to enable community leaders to set their own rules for their spheres. More soon!
Pack (Semi-Private Layer)
This is where things start to get more interesting.
Ultimately, we are more than what we choose to share about ourselves. We are the summation of the people who have influenced us in our lives. Every person on Junto can create their own pack. Your pack is meant to be a space for people you’re most comfortable being yourself with.
When you invite people to your pack, they mutually agree to invite you into theirs. People who belong to your pack are the only ones that can access it.
Your pack contains:
- Expressions you choose to share publicly
- Expressions you choose to share privately to your pack
- Expressions people in your pack choose to share publicly (provides a more holistic representation of who you are and facilitates relationships between people in your pack)
- Expressions you choose to ‘resonate’ (a resonation is our replacement for the like button. This is a more intentional way of engaging with content since it gets broadcasted back to your pack.)
A ‘Pack’ is an agent-centric community where you are the common thread between everyone involved. Imagine all of the people in different circles of your life coming together in one space where they can discover and engage with one another. This is a natural way to meet people and explore content since you are the common ground established between them.
Den (Private Layer)
The final layer of Junto is the den. This is your profile and within it, your private headspace. There are some things you will likely want to keep to yourself. When you create an expression on Junto, you can choose to keep it in your den and share it to your pack or the collective later if you want.
Your den is essentially a digital journal. The difference is that this journal is as dynamic as you want it to be, instead of being primarily-text based. Remember how Junto provides an ever-expanding number of mediums? The expression center is the single focal point of creation within Junto and allows for flexibility in the types of expressions you keep to yourself.
- Collective (public layer of Junto)
- Perspectives (feeds within the Collective)
- Spheres (communities)
- Pack (semi-private layer)
- Den (private layer)
- Channels (topics)
- Selective (aka following)
- Resonation (replacing the like button)
- Expression (post)
Distributed — Powered by Holochain
Junto is powered by Holochain, a cutting-edge framework for developing scalable, distributed applications. Holochain provides you with ownership of your data. Junto does not own, track, or sell your information. It is also far more private, secure, and resistant to censorship.
Holochain is maintained by a visionary group of individuals and a passionate global community. More below!
Holochain and Holo:
Not for Profit
Junto is a nonprofit, grassroots initiative independent of investors and third parties. This means no one can alter the direction we take moving forward.
We are working towards a more collaborative paradigm and want to provide opportunities for people who resonate with this to get involved. Here’s how:
- Junto is open source: this means anyone can review and contribute to our code. We just made our Junto Holochain application codebase public. Feel free to take a look here: https://github.com/juntofoundation/Junto/
- Junto is led by volunteers: get involved with the community by joining our Telegram channel here: https://t.me/juntofoundation
- Junto is funded by the people: This project will be funded by donations in these early stages. Over time we will implement a sustainable revenue model, likely a freemium model.
- Junto is offline: we are growing a distributed network of physical communities around the world to hold space for community members to connect in person and for local communities to affect meaningful change.
- On direct messages: we plan on introducing this after we release our beta
- On censorship: Junto will not act as a centralized source of morality. We will need to operate within the law, but everything else is fair game.
- On financial sustainability: we are crowdfunding during these early stages and will soon raise money from institutional donors. Within the next two years we plan on implementing a freemium model where people can pay an affordable subscription fee for premium features.
- On fake news and misinformation: Please review the FAQs section of our Kickstarter for more details.
Much love and gratitude to everyone who has offered their support for this project so far. It’s been powerful to witness this grassroots initiative gain momentum through purely word of mouth, and without any advertisements.
If you’re interested in learning more about this project, volunteering, and/or co-creating, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get ready to make some noise this fall.
— — —
Learn more here:
- Website: https://junto.foundation
- Get involved: https://t.me/juntofoundation
- Flux (weekly newsletter): https://junto.substack.com/
- Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1958309948/junto-a-new-breed-of-social-media
- Socials: Twitter, FB, Insta
- Holo <> Junto Spotlight: https://holo.host/project/junto/