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Social Media Alternatives

02 February 2016

Recently Tokumei, a project I've been working on with my friend Kyle has been gaining a fair bit of traction. Since its inception back in November, the anonymous microblogging platform has reached a fairly mature state of usability and has become a really unique place on the web. It attracted the attention of Professor Robert W. Gehl of the University of Utah and his Social Media Alternatives Project (S-MAP) recently. Kyle and I did an interview with him on the subject of Tokumei which will be published soon.

That's a fair bit on Tokumei, but not the point of this article. I have a point to make: Social Media is Evil (should I trademark that?). Not because connecting with people is bad, in fact it's one of the most fantastic things ever — I love connecting with people — but rather these multimillion dollar massive corporations that facilitate the making of these connections steal information from you. They data mine, they abuse permissions, they bombard you with advertisements to fulfill their horrible business models. And aside from that, they take over your devices and kill battery life (I'm looking at you Facebook for Android!).

I'm not criticising social media to the point where I'd be suggesting completely abandoning its use. That would be ridiculous. As a teenager, I have a Facebook account and a Twitter feed, and a plethora of others, but I am smart about using them. I limit the permissions I grant the applications (Twitter, you don't need my goddamn contacts!) and in many cases I only access the sites from sandboxed web browsers (Facebook, that's you). But it's a battle, and I'm starting to consider abandoning the battlefield.

Alternatives do exist! Look at GNU Social and its various front ends like Quitter. They are attractive, modern, full featured networks with user accounts, and wait for it... they don't abuse your information! Cool beans. You might think "who cares, I have nothing to hide," and that's fair enough. But if you don't want every mega-corporation staring right at you, Big Brother style, then I would encourage you to change your habits, or move to freer media. Better yet (and here's another personal plug) ditch your accounts and try Tokumei. We don't keep logs or care about who you are in the slightest