Ever since Facebook started limiting the reach of posts so that they could charge you to “boost” them, I have been trying to find something that would work as an alternative. I’ve tried various other social networking platforms to see how well they would work in comparison – Google Plus, Diaspora, Ello, and others over the last five or so years. But there were always issues that prevented me from adopting them fully.
Google Plus was probably the most promising, but it still had flaws that led to where we are now – with the platform slated to shut down next year. Diaspora was too slow and nobody was on it. I don’t remember what the deal with Ello was, except that it was kind of buggy and not very intuitive to use. So that brings me to where we are today.
Facebook has been hit by problem after problem. Cambridge Analytica, turning a blind eye to election meddling, multiple data breaches, the whole “fake news” thing, dumb censorship algorithms, locking down personal profiles from blog posting and other legitimate third-party activities, and now the latest “community standards” policy that looks to turn the whole site into a G-rated pile of boring. Tumblr is trying to do the same, but to be fair, they’re owned by Yahoo!. That’s basically the kiss of death in the online world these days.
So maybe, just maybe, we’re to the point where one of these alternative social networks could take off. The problem has always been mass adoption – Facebook has the numbers, so it’s where everybody wants to be and to an extent has to be if you want to be on the same platform as your friends. But it sounds like a fair number of people are leaving Facebook now, and possibly more are leaving Tumblr. That’s a big potential audience that the right platform could capture.
The one I’ve been hearing the most about lately is MeWe, so today I set up an account and took a look around. Here’s what a recent article had to say about the platform.
The social media site still includes the sharing and communications aspects of mainstream sites. Users can share photos, videos, voice messages, chat, and more. The only thing missing, according to MeWe, is the “BS.”
Users can respond to posts with a Like, and send emojis, memes, and GIFs. There’s an option to use a disappearing content feature, which is similar to Stories in mainstream social media. The content will appear for a set period of time, and then disappear.
MeWe privacy settings are customizable so you can control who sees your posts. The app boasts heavy-duty encryption to ensure secure one-on-one or group messages. MeWe’s Privacy Mail feature is like Facebook Messenger (iOS, Android).
The app promises 8GB of free storage space and that MeWe, itself, will always be free. There are special features available and extra storage for a fee. For example, upgrading to 50GB of storage is $5 per month.
If you’re on MeWe, my profile is here. Feel free to send me an invite. At first glace, the site seems like the sort of thing that could possibly replace Facebook if enough people decide to jump. It looks like it works pretty similarly, and I didn’t run into any obvious bugs – though I have heard that there are some and they can take a while to fix when you report them.
So I’m going to experiment with propagating my posts over there as well as on Facebook and other outlets. Seeing as most of the content I post is from either this blog or Augoeides my MeWe feed should mostly match my Facebook feed and will be available on both sites.