A new social network?
The year is 2020, and I think the time is ripe for a new social network to try to break into the market. Yes, Facebook has a bunch of scandals and what-not. That has been reported to no end, but that's not why I think now is the time for a new social network to enter the market.
I feel like my Facebook account has become tired. It's overflowing with friends that I'm not really close to anymore. The Facebook algorithm keeps shoveling the same few friends' status updates. The vast majority of my friends don't share anything meaningful anymore... just jokes, social observations, memes, and news articles. It's not as simple as deleting the friends I don't care about anymore, since that requires you to admit to yourself that you don't care anymore. I think it's time for a reset, to start anew and rebuild from scratch. That's the first change that I think is needed, and that's something that I think Facebook won't (or can't) do.
The second thing that I think needs to change is the mindset that we (the users) are the product. I think a next-generation social network should be subscription based. We need to move away from the idea that a social network is trying to gather as much personal information as it can so it can serve you more tailored and more expensive ads. Again, I think this is too big of a business model shift for Facebook to accomplish. Monthly recurring fees have proven to be a successful business model for countless modern companies (Netflix, Disney+, Google One, Adobe...) and I believe the same can be applied for a new social network.
I'm not the only one to have this idea. In a way, LinkedIn was a very early pioneer in this direction - a brand new social network that you built from scratch, and also has a paid subscription model. Other niche social networks, such as NextDoor, have also been successful (but not all of them charge an explicit fee, so it does still make you wary of giving them too much information). Lastly, most recently, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has launched his own social network called WT Social. That site is subscription based, but focuses solely on sharing news articles with each other.
So what do I want? I want a brand-new Facebook. I don't care about sharing news articles, or juggling multiple niche social networks. I want to go back to the "good old days" where I can share personal moments in my life, but I know it's kept within a tight circle of friends and not being data mined by third parties. I want to be able to share my conflicts, errors, and mistakes, instead of the positive-only filter that is so pervasive today.
Since I can't seem to find something similar to what I want, I'm setting out to build my own. Along the way, I hope to document my thoughts and process on this blog. And, ideally, other friends and helpful strangers are willing to join in on the adventure!