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Best Alternatives To the Big Name Social Media? 451

rueger writes "Over a couple of years I have actually found Facebook pretty useful and/or entertaining. It has certainly allowed me to stay connected with a lot of people with whom I otherwise would have lost track, and for all its weaknesses it was handy for sharing links and such. This week, though, the privacy escapades have pushed me (and a lot of other people) over the edge. If Twitter's 140 characters aren't enough, LinkedIn is too business-oriented, MySpace too ugly, and Buzz — does anyone even use Buzz? What social media options are out there for all of those non-uber-techy folks?"
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Best Alternatives To the Big Name Social Media?

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  • by Renegade Lisp ( 315687 ) * on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:43PM (#31978696)

    To me, the 140-character limit of Twitter is more than offset by the conciseness of the information it thusly transports. I find it actually very stimulating to be limited to 140 characters. Forces you to think a little longer before you post.

    As Goethe once said: Sorry for writing this long letter, I didn't have time for a shorter one.

    But in any case, you can combine Twitter with a Blog and use that if you really think you need to say something longer than 140 characters, then post the link on Twitter. Posterous is an excellent site for that.

    And to those who still think that Twitter is the place where people tell you they're having a sandwich -- you are obviously following the wrong people. It is the most efficient information engine I have ever seen -- and many other things beyond that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jjoelc ( 1589361 )

      It is the most efficient information engine I have ever seen

      Yep.. it burns through a lot of work, and produces a lot of noise pollution and hot air. All because you were too lazy to walk to the mailbox.

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:55PM (#31978788) Homepage Journal

      Ob PA: []

      It's all I ever think about every time twitter is covered by the popular media or NPR or whatever. And it unnerves me tremendously that I can't twack the anchor with a wet trout wrapped in a printout of that comic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      ...Sorry for writing this long letter...

      Hope he writes it slowly. I don't read very fast.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @09:29PM (#31979806)

        Dear Son,

              I'm writing this slow 'cause I know you can't read fast. We don't live
        where we did when you left. Your dad read in the paper where the most
        accidents happened within twenty miles of home, we moved.

              I wont be able to send you the address as the last Arkansas family that
        lived here took the numbers with them for their next house so they wouldn't have to
        change their address, wish I would have thought of that.

              This place has a washing machine. The first day I put four shirts in
        it, pulled the chain, and haven't seen 'em since. It only rained twice this
        week, three days the first time and four days the second time.

              The coat you wanted me to send you, Aunt Sue said it would be a little
        too heavy to send in the mail with those heavy buttons, so we cut them off and
        put them in the pockets.

              We got a bill from the funeral home, said if we didn't make the last
        payment on Grandma's funeral bill, up she comes.

              About your sister, she had a baby this morning. I haven't found out
        whether it is a boy or a girl so I don't know if you are an aunt or uncle,

              Your Uncle John fell in the whiskey vat. Some of the men tried to pull
        him out, but he fought them off and drowned. We cremated him, and he
        burned for about 3 days.

                Three of your friends when off the bridge in a pickup. One was
        driving, the other two were in the back. The driver got out. He rolled
        down the window and swam to safety. The other two drowned. They couldn't get the
        tailgate down in time.

        Not much more news this time, nothing much happened.

                                                                                        Love, Mom.

        P.S. I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU MONEY, but the envelope was already sealed.

    • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:26PM (#31979032)

      To me telling strangers or vague people everything all the time is giving up my privacy. If people are interested, they can ask me and perhaps I answer, but I just do not see the point to give out information all the time for no apparent reason.

      Perhaps there are people who had a diary when they where young. It was to write to yourself, not so much to show others. And then suddenly you are older, moved a few times and re-read them. It is then that you notice how uninteresting it all is.

      So if you want have people get in contact with you, set up a web page and let them google you like you google them. And if they only look on Facebook, then they are interested in adding a friend to get as many as possible, not about finding you.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:41PM (#31979144)

        So why did you tell us your opinion on this then?

      • by xenn ( 148389 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @08:17PM (#31979398)

        Doug Stanhope on Why Your Opinion Doesn't Matter []

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NoPantsJim ( 1149003 )
        This is the exact strategy I've taken. I registered [] and started a blog. I'll be deleting my facebook account shortly, with my last post being "Anyone who actually cares what I'm up to, find out here" with a link to the site.
      • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @12:04AM (#31980602) Homepage

        To me telling strangers or vague people everything all the time is giving up my privacy.

        I lived in a small "population center" of 1200 people once, for about 8 months. It was living hell. Nothing you did - NOTHING - was private, and half of what you did do was misconstrued into something else entirely different. If the wrong person didn't like you, the most vicious rumors would spill out. It didn't matter if it was true; I know quite a few people were forced out of town on threat of fraudulent criminal charges, and heard suggestive rumor that the same thing was "in the works" to happen to me.

        Since that time, I've been very, very protective of my privacy. Rumors in a small community can ruin a person, and your reputation is paramount in the business world to success (regardless of actual merit). As such, I'm careful about what it is I actually broadcast as "me".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by SCHecklerX ( 229973 )

        I miss the days when everyone just wrote their own web pages, then put it in their .sig, or just pointed people to it while chatting in IRC or posting to usenet. Web forums are so much worse at maintining information than usenet was. You had one place to go to find any topic you were interested in. Then just jumped on IRC if you wanted to chat live with a community or in private. Oh well.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:47PM (#31979206) Journal

      Forces you to think a little longer before you post.

      You have got to be kidding.

    • by rootrot ( 103518 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @09:15PM (#31979722)

      Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.
      ~ Blaise Pascal, Lettres Provinciales, xvi (1657)
      [I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.]

  • IRC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:44PM (#31978700) Journal

    I just idle on IRC instead.

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *


      Buzz sounds like the ultimate social media platform, with images and a fast url tracker and everything. But I can't get any of my friends and relatives to actually use it. I suppose it would help if it ever came out of beta.

      It would be neat to have something a little more distributed, where you host most of your own data and have ganglia that connect to all kinds of other things. But it'd probably end up being like Pidgin.

      I also set up a bunch of stuff that automatically crossposts between livejourn

      • Re:IRC (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BlackCreek ( 1004083 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:02PM (#31978850)

        I like Buzz a lot. The built-in support in Google Reader is a killer feature, and it stays right next to Gmail. Support from an android phone is also superb.

        The problem being that the biggest feature of a social media service is the number of people (known to you) that actually uses it. Almost nobody is using buzz at the moment.

      • Second tier providers would make all the money. Walled garden is where the cash is.

    • Re:IRC (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:57PM (#31978816)

      IRC is a vacuum through which sanity slowly escapes the brain. It is proliferated by sociopathic assholes and the occasional psychopath off his medication. If you want a really good example of what happens when you let the lunatics run the asylum, IRC is it. And the worst part is, even well-meaning people who come there get sucked into its cyber-bullying, cynical norm and either succumb to it or get the hell out... leaving only the most warped idiots to argue amongst themselves.

  • []

    I have used this on occasion. It needs a bigger userbase.

  • "Outside" (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:48PM (#31978728)

    I hear if you visit this "Outside" you can meet other people and network with them. You can have friends, interests, conversations, etc. The whole deal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Reminds me of an old saying: "A long journey begins with the first few steps on the basement stairs."

    • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:09PM (#31978898) Journal

      Are you kidding? "Outside" is dangerous! It's full of viruses, and spyware all around you with their parabolic microphones and telephoto lenses... And you really don't want to have to deal with the security system. Lots of false positives that can be a real pain. Take my advice. Stay "Inside" and lock the doors.

    • Re:"Outside" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @08:00PM (#31979282)

      What if you live in some dump where all the other people around are a bunch of dimwit rednecks or people who just want to talk about sports or something similarly inane?

      That's the nice thing about internet boards, chat rooms, etc. You can find people who actually want to talk about interesting things, instead of reality TV and sports like most morons. Unfortunately, most of the time you find that they aren't located anywhere near you.

      Maybe if you live in a region/country where the vast majority of the population isn't bumbling idiots, and there's no obvious way to find people who aren't, your advice would make some sense.

      I don't know about where you live, but in my city, the only places to socialize offline are work, church, and bars. If you have interesting cow-orkers, that's great, but some of us are stuck with sports fans. Church is for people who are easily led into supporting Sarah Palin, and generally not a good place to meet people with intellectual pursuits, plus it can be a little awkward when they ask you about your "personal relationship with Jesus" and you tell them you think he was just some hippie spreading Buddhist philosophy, and the written stories about him are completely wrong just like any legend or myth. Bars are for people who like to drink to the point of inebriation.

  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:50PM (#31978744) Homepage

    Here's the problem: if you're on a social network that few have heard of, what's the point?

    Isn't the purpose of say, Facebook, the fact that nearly everyone uses it? How would a "social network" without other people even work?

    • by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:30PM (#31979066) Journal

      Nobody uses facebook anymore, it's too crowded.

    • Here's the problem: if you're on a social network that few have heard of, what's the point?

      Agreed, unless you seek to interact with those who pursue non-mainstream alternatives.

      Isn't the purpose of say, Facebook, the fact that nearly everyone uses it? How would a "social network" without other people even work?

      That's the problem with Facebook, it was an ivory tower that wasn't publicly accessible to your friends, now it's a marketers' morass.

      To answer the original query, decide first what and with whom you wish to share, then go to the service that offers the most convenience for that/them.

      That's why a communication service like Twitter is so useful, instead of being a limited social network, you are accessible via the Web, web

    • by leromarinvit ( 1462031 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:18PM (#31980036)

      How would a "social network" without other people even work?

      It would obviously be an antisocial network [].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gehrehmee ( 16338 )

      This is/was the problem with instant messaging networks: Unless you were on the right network, along with your friends, you got nothing.

      The solution that's quickly gaining ground is federated XMPP, where your identity is tied to a server, but the server can talk to other servers, so you're not stuck in one walled off garden.

      Any outlook for good federated, multi-server, distributed and de-centralized social networking? I know there's, where interesting stuff is happening...

      The main feature of Face

  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <marc,paradise&gmail,com> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:50PM (#31978746) Homepage Journal
    The thing that makes "social media" useful is its userbase. You could never have found/kept in touch with your old friends if you weren't signed up for a service they were also signed up for. Trying to find a smaller service by definitions means it's not going to be as useful to you.
    • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:31PM (#31979080)

      The thing that makes "social media" useful is its userbase.

      Indeed. But like everything else, it comes to down to implementation, yes? To steal a phrase coined by a fellow Slashdotter ...

          Twitter: a listserv for the ADD generation.

    • Mostly yes, but it could still be useful for staying in touch. You just wouldn't be able to use it to get back in touch with somebody that you'd lost contact with. But ultimately that's the trade off you make. If you want random people from years past to get in touch with you, then random strangers are going to be able to as well. It's not really that easy to find a way of getting old acquaintances without risking crazy stalkers.
  • I don't know how useful this is but I joined a community on Ning [] that focused on independent rock. These communities are much smaller and it's going to be pointless to ask all your friends to join it. But if you're looking for something more tightly knit surrounding a topic you passionately love then these networks are more specific and probably more helpful.

    Unfortunately they don't satisfy what you liked about Facebook but ... I mean, you're never going to find that large of a user base or platform
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:53PM (#31978766) the one all your friends are on. Otherwise, what's the point? Write your own if you need to. If you want to meet new people, find a site that caters to your interests or join one that everyone else is on. If you want to keep in touch with your friends, who cares which one you use as long as you agree on it.

    On another note, the idea that Twitter=Facebook is alien to me. Facebook is multimedia sharing (video, pictures, short status updates, blog entries, etc.) while Twitter is just status updates and link sharing.

  • Blogs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:54PM (#31978784) Journal

    Ideally, it'd work something like this:

    If you must microblog, Twitter is fine, or find something else. Most of them can publish to other accounts, and all of them worth considering will have at least an RSS feed, if not SMS.

    Otherwise, pick any free blog hosting site, or run it yourself. Blogs already provide the basics of what "social networks" do, especially if you use XFN [], but even without that, what do you really do on Facebook? Announce your status, post what you're doing, reply to other people's posts ("write on their wall"), organize events (iCal works, and Google Calendar supports it), link to people you like, follow what people are doing (RSS)...'s possible I'm missing what social networking is about, as I don't use Twitter or Facebook, but I also don't get what it adds above the Web itself as a medium. About the only thing I can think of is automatically suggesting certain people you might know, friends-of-friends and such, but I'm guessing anything that could provide that would also provide the exact same privacy concerns.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BlackCreek ( 1004083 )

      What facebook offers is a single point, simple, solution to all the issues you listed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        So does Blogger, so I'm still not seeing it...

        ...though I do see the point. It would be nice if there was a one-stop solution that actually incorporated all of the above, without the obscene lock-in. (Also without the data-mining, though it doesn't really matter so much at that point -- if you can migrate to another host and take your network of friends with you, I'd hope competition would make these networks care a bit more about privacy.)

  • Strange... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:57PM (#31978806)

    The only way to to not play.

    Seriously, that's the best way to stay out of the Social Media Black Hole. Don't log in. Don't make an account. EVER. Ignore the temptation. Ignore the appeal.

    • by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:10PM (#31978912) Homepage

      You can safely orbit a black hole, if you're beyond the event horizon and pick a trajectory that ensures you stay this way.

      I think Facebook might be best treated this way: create yourself a profile with limited content. Particularly don't give informative answers to specific questions. Include a URL to your personal website / blog. Make that public. Make an email address and phone number visible to friends. Update your status and comment to friends periodically, feed links to content you have elsewhere through it periodically. You get most of the advantages of Facebook's visibility and keep their grip off your content and personal information.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't Blink. Good Luck.

  • Other choices (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:57PM (#31978814) Homepage

    LinkedIn is useful for business purposes. LinkedIn offers a big hammer that discourages spammers. If someone tries to "friend" you, and you don't know them, you click "I don't know this person". After a few rejections, the annoying user loses the ability to "friend" people. The same goes for "questions"; if someone puts up a question that looks like spam, and it's flagged, they soon lose the ability to post "questions". As a result, there are people on LinkedIn worth talking to. However, a big fraction of the users are "consultants" trolling for work. Lots of lawyers, but, after all, lawyers are consultants trolling for work.

    I used to enjoy Tribe, which was fun and useful if you're near SF, because many of the people doing interesting art things in SF were on Tribe. But they have near zero traffic now. A few years back, they went "Web 2.0", and they broke their system so badly that "Tribe bug reports" became the most active group. Then they decided to crack down on "adult" topics to please their advertisers, and a big chunk of their user base left. Then they annoyed their main developer, and he left. After those mistakes, I think they're down to about three employees.

    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      I use LinkedIn a lot, and I think you overstate their zeal against spam. Yes, it's hard to spam through the contact or question system. But it's pretty trivial to do it in the Groups system. There's nothing in the TOS that forbids spamming group discussions; the worst that can happen is that the group owner will delete your post.

      I don't think this is deliberate. It's just that LinkedIn never addresses problems with their web site until a lot of people complain about them. Originally, it was pretty easy to s

  • It gets straight to the point, for isn't that what Facebook is really about? Why else are half the the female pictures scantily clad and half the male pictures shirtless? Lets just be adults and cut straight through the Facebullshit.
  • Diaspora (Score:5, Informative)

    by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:11PM (#31978920) Homepage

    Super super super early stage, but very interesting is Diaspora []. This open source project aims to create a completely decentralized social network. It's inspired by Eben Moglen's call [] for us to break out of the walled gardens.

    While walled gardens aren't going away, I really hope this project is at least partially successful giving people back control of their own data.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sznupi ( 719324 )

      Reminds me of one serverless IM [] (finds IP of friends via DHT; apparently also has "push message to all friends" functionality, close enough to some social services) I have to check some time. And two apparently related projects: [] - and this one apparently strives to be serverless VoIP cooperating with one of the above

      They seem to be largely usable. Are they actually in much use? Have you even heard about them? Yeah, exactly...

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:20PM (#31978988) Homepage

    These social networking sites are, in the end, about making money in various ways. It may start off with placing ads, but eventually, they will not be able to resist the sale and ab/use of the data they collect about the users. If you want to do social networking that you can trust, you will have to put up your own site.

  • Current status: sensual
  • the more the people, the more useful the network. the less the people, the less useful the network

    the best you can do is ride a newish network to popularity. then hop off before it goes out style. then another network rises

    friendster, mypsace, facebook... next is?

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:28PM (#31979050) Journal

    Sure, Mark Zuckerberg's a douchebag, but most large corporations are run by douchebags and yet I still buy Cheerios at WalMart and drive a Chrysler.

    Here's the thing - and don't tell anybody I told you this - if you don't put anything private on Facebook, then your privacy won't be compromised by it.

    I use Facebook. I use it because most of my friends are on it. It's a nice way to stay in touch with people who I know, but most of whom I couldn't finish a single beer with and still have anything to talk about. I like these folks - they're part of my past and present - bu some people I only have very small things in common with. I also know when things are happening (a friend's play, or their kids league championship ball game), and where I have common interests with acquaintances whom I would either not interact with at all, or would take years to become closer.

    But guess what - I don't put anything on Facebook which is (a) embarrassing (b) particularly personal (c) not already available with an internet search. I never Facebook while drunk (well, I don't get drunk - but you get the idea), and I don't attack people or things. I don't join "causes". I'm not a marketing wasteland, though. I've filled out my "favorite" things sections. BFD. If knowing that I'm in my 40s, like Bowling for Soup and Amadeus, and am married gets Facebook a couple of dollars in ad revenue, go for it. Kroger already knows when I'm on a fucking Diet, and CVS probably informs their spies when the rest of my household has seasonal allergies.

    So, that brings me back - unless you really need something else, and are willing and able to migrate your entire friend group to it - quit your whining, be smart with your data, and surf with due caution. You know you can't trust Zuckerberg, and that's 98% of the way to keeping your information safe.

    Oh - and whatever you go to will be just as bad eventually. Google can't always not be evil, and even open source projects can have a mole.

    • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @08:38PM (#31979524)

      But guess what - I don't put anything on Facebook which is (a) embarrassing (b) particularly personal (c) not already available with an internet search.

      It's not necessarily what personal info you put on Facebook that's going to come back to bite you in the ass; it's your social network itself. Back in the 1950s, during the McCarthy witchhunt, you got into trouble not so much for what you did, but for who you associated with (or even were just seen talking to). At that point you had the choice of either denouncing that person or being blacklisted yourself. As an aspiring dictator, I drool profusely thinking about how easily I'll be able to cleanse the social landscape of it's undesirable elements. They're falling all over themselves trying to give me lists of all their friends, no housecalls or torture needed.

      Of course, it can't happen here, falling on deaf ears, etc...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        But guess what - I don't put anything on Facebook which is (a) embarrassing (b) particularly personal (c) not already available with an internet search.

        It's not necessarily what personal info you put on Facebook that's going to come back to bite you in the ass; it's your social network itself. Back in the 1950s, during the McCarthy witchhunt, you got into trouble not so much for what you did, but for who you associated with (or even were just seen talking to). At that point you had the choice of either denouncing that person or being blacklisted yourself. As an aspiring dictator, I drool profusely thinking about how easily I'll be able to cleanse the social landscape of it's undesirable elements. They're falling all over themselves trying to give me lists of all their friends, no housecalls or torture needed.

        Of course, it can't happen here, falling on deaf ears, etc...

        And the facebook privacy changes back in december have made your list of friends public information. Read those policies folks: you can remove the list of friends from your profile so they don't show (or restrict it to friends only, etc), but they're still considered public by facebook. This means they can give it to whomever they want, and already provide it to any application a friend of yours may be using.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gerf ( 532474 )

      if you don't put anything private on Facebook, then your privacy won't be compromised by it.

      So, if you don't put up your real name, don't "friend" anyone, don't comment to anyone, don't join groups, and don't play games, you've removed all potentially private information. Oh yeah, you've also removed all usefulness at the same time.

      Personally, I am not a facebook user, as I've never had any inherent trust of the company and Zuckerberg in particular. I'd like to say Google would do better, but with the uselessness of Buzz, and Schmidt's recent comments about privacy being only necessary if you're

  • Build your own (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darth Cider ( 320236 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:30PM (#31979068)
    Check out the free and open source software, Caucus [] and build your own social network. I belong to such a Caucus-based community, where invited members can speak openly, and I strongly agree that Facebook is seriously limited by privacy concerns.

    You could also look up "The Well" and see what communities of a similar nature are out there. Seems you're looking for something like that.
  • uses it, and I think the purpose is for people across different social networking sites to be able to follow each other.

    Found it: []

    This would ostensibly lead to a decentralization of social networking sites while still allowing people to discover other users.

  • Standardize? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jalfrock ( 982820 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:33PM (#31979096)

    Will it eventually be possible to have a social-networking standard so that anyone can run their own server, just as with email? In that case it wouldn't matter if one friend uses facebook, another myspace, a third linkedin; they would all adhere to the same standard and so which particular social-networking service you use would become irrelevant.

    PS: I apologize for being lazy but I haven't thought about this at all, so there could easily be some glaring reason why it can't possibly work.

  • There are a few things that don't really work with this scenario. First thing is the less people who are on the site the less useful it is. The reason why Facebook is so popular is because -everyone- is on it. Who wants to join a social networking site where you know 5 people on it? As for privacy, is it -really- that big of a deal? Generally all social networking sites will do with your info is target some ads or perhaps make it search-able. Is it -really- that terrible for the world to know that you like
  • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:53PM (#31979242) Journal
    Food is social networking, too. Plus, it's 3d fully interactive real-time 360 degree hyper-real resolution with full sensorial input. It's, like, real.
  • by shermo ( 1284310 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @08:04PM (#31979310)

    If you haven't heard of it, it doesn't do what you want it to.

  • Multiply (Score:3, Funny)

    by pez ( 54 ) * on Sunday April 25, 2010 @08:32PM (#31979494) Journal

    I've heard that the founder and current CEO of Multiply has been on Slashdot forever.

  • then why would you use a network you haven't even heard of yet?

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:38PM (#31980136) Homepage

    When social networks first started to appear, I didn't see the appeal. But I'm starting to understand it now.

    The things people do on social network sites have been around as long as the Internet; it's just that the modern way of doing them is a bit more convenient.

    Suppose my wife and I go out and ride a bicycle event (such as the annual ride from Seattle to Portland) and have a great time. My wife will probably write up an email about it, and send it to a list of our friends and relatives. She has to maintain that list and keep it up to date, and people who aren't on it might never find out about it, even if they would love to read about what we are doing.

    The alternative is that she could post it on Facebook or some other site. She could set the privacy settings so that only our friends can see it. Facebook automatically starts helping friends find each other, so over time more and more friends are automatically able to see the posting. And, like a blog, it's also an archive old old posts, so newly added friends can go back and read older items they missed (if they so choose).

    Once I realized that Facebook is actually a better way to send out these sort of updates, I started to like it a bit more.

    Like anything else, it can be overdone. You might think it is very entertaining to say "I'm eating a sandwich right now" but I doubt I'd agree.

    And I don't recommend sharing lots of really personal information: an example today I heard is that some person might say "Man, I really hate my boss" and then his/her boss might find the page and read that comment! Likewise, if you like to go to parties where people drink giant vats full of beer, and/or smoke strange things, you probably don't want to post photos of yourself at those parties; and you don't want to post things like "man I'm so wasted ive got the munchies so bad 4:20 ha ha." Later, possibly even years later, you might be applying for a job someplace and the new company might decline you just because of those wild and crazy public updates.

    Another thing to consider: there is a horrible amount of spam in normal email (about 95% of all email sent is spam!). Some people are increasingly relying on social networking sites to communicate: instead of group-emailing their friends, they just update their micro-blogs; instead of sending an email to a friend, they just use the chat feature. Personally, I am very offended that spammers are breaking email for the rest of us, and I don't want to see everyone retreat into walled gardens owned by corporate overlords; I'd like to see a proper fix for email. But nonetheless, there are some people who rarely or never bother to check their email, but check their social page many times a day.

    I think in the near future, we will see a great convergence: you will use one client that will alert you to instant messages, emails, personal messages from social networking sites, updates to your friends' micro-blogs, and RSS/Atom feed updates. You will be able to reply via instant message, email, personal message, or updating your micro-blog, or updating your blog if you have one. People don't really care what the transport is underlying the messages; why do we need one client for instant messages, another one for email, another one for social network sites, and another one for RSS/Atom? (One of the selling points for Google Buzz is that it is knitted together with your Gmail.) I would love a super-aggregator, where I could get it to alert me if a message is really urgent or from someone really important, and where other messages would just queue up for my later perusal.

    P.S. Two clients:

    Ubuntu 10.04 includes a social networking client called Gwibber []. It aggregates all social networks for you, and can color-code messages to help you keep track (like, blue messages were pulled from Facebook, but red messages came from Twitter, etc.). You can post an update, and it will automatically push it out to multiple services (Facebook, Twitter,

  • I'm confused (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:15AM (#31981880)
    You're not using Buzz because you don't think anyone uses it (I think you're right, incidentally), so you're asking us for other social networking ideas that you've never heard of? Sounds like a losing proposition to me.

    Someone needs to make a new Facebook, like how it was when it started up. Back when it was used to find people, connect to them, and keep in touch on occasion, but wasn't meant to be your portal to the Internet or a gateway to every social interaction in your life. I found value in Facebook back then. Now? The only value I find in it is what I've invested previously, not what I'm gaining. That said, I'm aware of the sunk costs fallacy [] and don't want to be a victim to it for too long, so if they push much harder, I will be leaving Facebook as well. From the very beginning I had everything set to friends only (or stricter), but now I'm being forced to remove parts of my profile as they make them public, since I simply don't want to share that information with others I don't know.

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.