What began as fun, new thing is starting to become uncomfortably creepy.
That social network that promised to bring far-away friends and family closer together or that photo-sharing app that allowed us to celebrate the mundane, daily moments with cool filters have been increasingly frustrating to use.
From dark patterns that manipulate our behaviors to constant privacy scandals (see here and here) that treat us like nothing more than data-sheep to be sheared, I’ve lost track of the many examples of surveillance capitalism that exploit us.
So what’s the solution these issues?
I think owning your data is a step in the right direction.
In my search for an ethical alternative to the two popular social networks at the moment, Twitter and Instagram, I’ve found two very promising open-source projects.
In fact, I’ve paid for my own instances of these two platforms. Check out https://summerlin.social/ (private Twitter) and https://moment.ist/ (private Instagram).
Because I’m the administrator of these two websites, I have more control of what is done with my data (which is nothing) and share my thoughts and pictures without fear of being shadow-banned or de-platformed.
Even more amazing, my personal instances can talk to other instances. It’s a decentralization of the internet and it’s magical.
The biggest drawback to rolling your own social-network?
Funny enough, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to ask my friends to change their habits and give my private sites a try (instead of posting to Facebook and Instagram).
Hopefully, there will come a tipping point when they tire of the relentless privacy scandals and look for an alternative.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying my conversation with the few of the early adopters on these networks.
P.S. I’ll let you know if I can find a good alternative to Facebook (or if it will be relevant in a couple of years).