Why it matters
With all the censorship out there today people are looking for alternatives to the big name social networks. I have a small list of the services I used and still use further down the post. You will not see SteemIt on here since this is a blogging platform like Medium and not a true social network in the sense of Facebook or Twitter.
I'm a nerd so these things matter. I love meeting new people online and forming great relationships. That is what social networks provide. Now we are running into problems with the established entities that give us this ability. The thing is, they are one hundred percent in the right when they kick someone off their network.
Did you catch that?
Its their network and they can do as they please.
While I agree that they hold the right to kick people off their platforms I don't agree with the hypocrisy they have while doing so. Nor do I agree that they should kick people out for disagreeing with company's religious, political, or moral outlook on life. This is a slippery slope we have now started down and these companies should not be the "Internet Police".
The ability to read or hear differing opinions make the Internet great. I am a follower of Jesus and do not want people of other theological beliefs to be censored any more than I want to be censored. If we see these other points of view, we will either learn something or we will have our current outlook solidified.
This is how we grow!
Not by only seeing what Facebook, Twitter, or another site want us to follow or believe to be correct.
What is social media?
Just because a site has a social aspect to let people engage around a piece of content does not make that site a social network. For this article we will define social networking sites as those where you share content you or someone else created. Not the sites where the content is created and housed.
The focus of the site has to be the socializing and not the content. With sites like BitChute and SteemIt, the social aspect of the site is a secondary feature to allow engagement with the creator. This makes them a social site but not a social network. I know, this is a semantic issue here and the majority of people won't make this distinction but when am I ever in line with the mainstream?
Here are the list of alternatives you can use in replace of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. These all focus on sharing created material more than being a platform to create on.
Minds may be the first alternative I came across. I heard about this site and its focus on free speech around 2014. This site is free (as in freedom) and open source with a built in point system. You can buy points or earn them by using the Minds network. One thousand points equals one US dollar and you can use the points in a few ways.
One way is to use them for boosting a post you made. For every point you use to boost that will put your post at the top of the site in the boosted section. If it gets seen by a user, the point is consumed by Minds. This continues until the points you used to boost matches the number of people who saw the post. You can also send points to another user as tip they can use to boost there post or cash out for currency.
Minds.com is the central node with over 2 million monthly users.
Minds.org is the decentralization hub where you can launch your own social networking app and website based on Minds free software, which can be private or public and federated.
The Diaspora Project tells us on their site they have three core principles. Decentralization, freedom, and privacy, all three are near and dear to my nerd heart. Diaspora is a federated network like mastodon but has more of a Facebook utility where Mastodon is more like Twitter. Each node on the network is called a "pod" and they all talk to each other. If the server you are on goes offline, the rest of the network keeps moving along.
Diaspora on privacy:
In diaspora* you own your data. You don’t sign over rights to a corporation or other interest who could use it. In addition, you choose who sees what you share, using Aspects. With diaspora*, your friends, your habits, and your content is your business ... not ours!
Gab has had a lot of press at the time I am writing this due to getting kicked off the Google Play Store. Their focus is free speech but they are not decentralized. This has already become a problem for them when their host dropped them after the Play Store fiasco.
Gab is an interesting site with many interesting characters. They got an alt-right label since they have a lot of users who seem to identify as that. From what I see there are these types of people but also many middle of the road types as well. If you don't like the content of someone there, you can block them yourself. This keeps their post out of your feed even if someone you follow causes a trigger to make it show within your feed.
I'm looking at you Facebook. Stop that... Actually I don't care. I'm never on Facebook!
Gab says they will censor no one that follows their guidelines this is an issue for me since they still hold the power to kick you off the network entirely. They have not abused this ability as far as I know but who says they won't in the future?
I love Mastodon! It is a decentralized Twitter like network with a five hundred character limit. We covered what Mastodon is all about in the "Decentralize: How To Save Our Internet" post so head over there to grab more details. You can find me there at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send me a 'toot' and tell me you are from Steem!
Thanks for reading!
If you have any favorite networks that I did not cover please let us know what it is in the comments below. As always, if you have questions ask them down there as well!