This is one thing I think Google+ got right. I can have different types of “friends”, each in their own categories, such as “sharaholic” or “meme poster” and only visit those circles occasionally.
The only problem is the unpopularity of G+.
I've found that casual chatrooms with a small group of friends is pretty effective at keeping in touch without the noise.
There are many common options like Slack, IRC, Keybase, and others. The hardest choice is finding a technology folks can agree upon; convenience and inertia go a long way towards maintaining a successful chatroom.
Originally, I used facebook in some weird, dystopian and usually ineffective courtship ritual. Then I used it to keep in touch with distant friends, which is the stated use case, but actually isn't that interesting, but would have been well-served by curating my friends list.
Lately, I moved to San Francisco and started doing stand-up comedy. Facebook is the single best tool for self-promotion and for finding out where good open mics and shows are. Both goals are served by adding randomly every single person I meet, not by curating my list.
Private slacks, private google groups, private and close knit email lists will always make for better sharing and discussion. I suppose by their nature they're much smaller too.
The one thing social media could do very well that these cannot, but still consistently fails at, for some reason, is discovery. How do I find the other literati nearby? How do I know who the next great addition to the secret slack might be?
Its true. I have no friends on hn and hn is my best "social media"
There have been apps in the past that limit friends. I've thought a bout a 2 person network for you and your partner as well as one with maybe 20 friends. As well as one where you only see updates from friends who include you in their 20 as well. But it breaks the financial model of running targeted ads so it wont work.
Ehh I’m not convinced. I deleted my Facebook a long time ago (hard delete, not just a deactivation) and I’ve managed to replicate the same value I got from Facebook in Slacks and Discords - except it’s just stuff I want, and people I want to hear from. When some congressmen asked Zuckerberg about monopoly, I thought this: I actually think there are plenty of alternatives. I derive a lot more value from the Slack channels I’m on with friends who are now lawyers or tech gurus or thinking about doing a startup...and none of it is interrupted by ads or annoying posts from my parents and their friends. If the point here is “delete most of your ‘friends’” then why keep Facebook at all?
It would also help if Facebook let you hide shit content - shared posts, tags, memories etc. But noooo you can only "see less of this" which doesn't really do anything.
I just ruthlessly unfollow people now. And ignore Facebook - WhatsApp has effectively replaced it.
Many tech people want a better social network plan.
I'm asking for opinions and advice here:
The repo looks at issues of purpose, funding, audience, identity, topology, implementation, a MVP, and more.
I've unfollowed most real people on Facebook as it's all about the interest or location-oriented groups for me rather than pictures of people's kids or vacations. It's so much better this way.
I'm way ahead of everyone. I'm on Diaspora, and I have 0 friends.
We might stretch that to
The secret to better politics : fewer citizens.
Which is a little bleak.
The secret isn't fewer friends, it's only having actual friends on social media and not following/friending random people.
My facebook feed is usually things I care about as a result. Except for 1 guy, who is a great guy but I don't need to see another sad dog who needs a home or missing child article.
How many are few? Because messaging apps work that way (chat groups) and most groups with over ~10 people is a tsunami of terrible jokes and fake news. What works though is creating temporary groups around events (trips, concerts etc.)
Create a new Facebook and just add the people you've talked to recently and get message notifications from your old account sent to your e-mail. It's like getting a new phone number and only informing recent contacts.
I think that ephemeral WhatsApp groups add a lot of value here. <plug> And if you'd like persistent, private photo/video sharing, a site like www.famipix.com fits the bill.</end plug)
"Social network" vs "Social media"
It is arguable that the primary purpose of Facebook originally was to allow two friends to communicate over a third person's website. There was no "news feed".
Is this a "social network" or is it "social media"?
Later the website became a means to broadcast "news".
Is it a "social network" or is it "social media"?
Later the website became a means for third parties other than Facebook to broadcast advertisements to specific users of the "network".
Is it a "social network" or is it "social media"?
Why might this distinction matter?
This is a quote from Van Jacobsen's 30 August 2006 tech talk entitled "A new way to think about networking":
"The raison d'etre of today's networking, both circuit switched and TCP/IP, is to allow two machines to have a conversation.
The overwhelming use (>99% by most measurements) of today's networks is for a machine to acquire named chunks of data (like webpages or email messages).
Acquiring named chunks of data is not a conversation, it's a dissemination (the computer equivalent of "Does anybody have the time?")"
What is Facebook?
Is it particular communications between two friends? Is it a "network"?
Is it dissemination? Is it "media"?
Is it both?
Does Facebook communication between friends upset the traditional media? Does it "threaten democracy"?
Does Facebook dissemination upset the traditional media? Does it "threaten democracy"?
The tech talk cited above discusses why in the case of dissemination the data matters, not the supplier.
In the case of dissemination it is desirable that data being disseminated must be trustworthy. Once this is achieved it should not matter the source from which the reader obtains it (whether via a Facebook page being surveilled by Facebook, or via some random address elsewhere on the internet).
The talk describes how this might be accomplished.
aka private group chats