Before social media giants, there were social bloggers connecting at the scale of Dunbar’s number. Literally, everybody knew everybody, at least in the Internet sense: if you didn’t know them you didn’t connect to them.
It wasn’t just relationships that were decentralized, though, it was also tooling. You used a blogging tool to write and a feed reader to read. It was a lot more work than the social media giants.
To like a post, for example, you would need to either reblog it or create an account and enter a comment – both manual operations that took 100x as long as an in-place Like, Retweet, or Reply button.
That was never necessary. It could always have been the case that blogging tools included the full stack of functionality. It can still be the case now. Back to the future.