What analogies or taglines will make Tent easy to explain to people?
Tent replaces centralized social networks with something you can personally own and control. You could run your own Twitter in your broom closet and still communicate with the rest of the world.
Tent gives us a way to regain control of our identities from the corporations which are trying to profit from them.
Remember when you had conversations with friends without a third party always listening? Tent allows you to take out the middleman (if you run your own server).
Wish you could share whatever photos and content you liked with your friends without being blocked by the moral views of a multinational corporation?
Unhappy with Facebook but feel like a hostage because you can't easily migrate to another site? Tent is designed to let you seamlessly switch service providers while keeping your data and social connections. This gives service providers an incentive to care about their users, putting the users in control.
Tent can be run as a Tor hidden service, allowing activists and others to communicate with each other without fear of being traced. Tent is decentralized and can't be blocked the way Twitter has been in various countries.
Tent is a decentralized protocol (like email), and Tent.is is a particular hosted service (like gmail). It's better than email because: you can change your address and your followers will automatically come along with you; structured documents allow a variety of apps and uses; better broadcasting to many people (especially when groups are implemented); encryption (eventually); users can edit old posts (eventually); posts can be public like a blog or directed only at certain people; apps can invent their own kinds of posts, likes, comments, reblogs, events, rsvps, photos, check-ins, or anything else you can think of.
Tent is like a decentralized network of blogs and RSS feeds, except with privacy controls and real-time notification of new content.
Tent fosters innovation because apps don't need the protocol owner's permission to exist. Anyone can build apps without getting anyone's permission (except the people who want to share their data with you). As developers of Facebook and Twitter apps know, it's all too easy for those sites to cut off the oxygen to an app that they don't like.
Tent is a simple protocol that speaks JSON. It's easy for developers to build on.
Tent is an open ecosystem like the web itself. Just like anyone can set up a web server or email server without asking permission, so too can anyone host their own Tent server or write (or use) a Tent app – no walled gardens, no strings attached.
Tent is a distributed realtime internet-wide persistent message bus and JSON document store with social permission control. Buzzword bingo!
Tent is like OStatus, but better
Twitter just changed their rules to prevent you from getting your content back. http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/20/ifttt-is-the-latest-service-to-be-affected-by-twitters-api-constraints-will-remove-triggers/
Twitter can be subpoenaed for your personal data: http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/twitter-loses-occupy-wall-street-case-forced-to-hand-over-user-info.php
Facebook actively scans your chats for "suspicious activity": http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57471570-93/facebook-scans-chats-and-posts-for-criminal-activity/
Facebook and Google Plus will kick off people with unusual non-Western names, people who have changed their names, and people who want to be anonymous to avoid stalkers or political repression: http://boingboing.net/2011/08/20/understanding-the-nym-wars.html
The big social networks exist to make money from advertising, which is why they never seem to care about your privacy. The more data they have from you, and the more your name and identity is forced into predictable boxes, the more money they can make.
Facebook is extorting money from nonprofits, bands, etc for the privilege of sending messages to the people who tried to follow them: http://boingboing.net/2012/10/01/facebook-fan-pages-broken-but.html
Facebook imposes their own moral views on what kinds of content you can share with your friends: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/18/breastfeeding-photos-facebook-respect-the-breast_n_1285264.html