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Create a better social product to replace Facebook challenge (openbookchallenge.com)
51 points by baili on March 21, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments



Diaspora raised a slew of money back in 2010 but flopped.... it’s almost as though we knew this would happen....

https://techcrunch.com/2010/05/12/diaspora-open-facebook-pro...


Diaspora has a local Ruby install, maybe that could be an interim solution? seems to still have some activity / pull requests.. https://github.com/diaspora/diaspora


Building a better product isn't the issue, it's convincing people to use it. The entire value proposition of using Facebook is that a lot of people use Facebook.

You kill Facebook by ceasing your use of Facebook, if you can without too horrible consequences.


To solve this chicken and egg problem, you could build a social network that interoperates with Facebook -- use a combination of public (and undocumented browser to server) APIs to proxy communications back and forth. Then anyone who wants to use Competitorbook can still talk to people on Facebook through it, allowing competing social networks to naturally grow without network effect problems.

This would threaten FB and immediately lead to an API blocking arms race, to be followed by a legal challenge. If you're well funded and win the legal challenge (which hey, IANAL at all, but the comparison between FB today and Bell in its time is not crazy) you win.


What if it piggybacked off of Signal instead?

After the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, I’ve told all of my Facebook Messenger contacts that I’ll only chat on Signal from now on. With Signal providing identity management (and backed by a foundation with $50 million in the bank), that might reduce the bootstrapping necessary.

Start with profiles, then groups, then events, and grow from there.


> Building a better product isn't the issue, it's convincing people to use it.

Calacanis should just fund one of the 100+ alternatives that already exist, but don't yet have a critical mass of users. Funding someone to write new software for something that not only could, but should be bootstrapped is unlikely to produce anything viable.


Or fund lobbying of (probably EU) politicians to write a law forcing Facebook to interoperate with the 100+ alternatives that already exist, using OAuth / OpenID Connect and W3C social networking standards.

Once people can have all the benefit of Facebook (i.e. mutual visibility with Facebook users) without having their data stored on Facebook's servers, or their experience controlled by Facebook's UI, then Facebook will quickly diminish in relevance.


Won’t this work the opposite way as well? Facebook will be free to ingest all of the data from the smaller social networks


They're already free to do this in theory with social network sites that don't require logins to see people's data (i.e. Twitter clones), but hopefully the EU's GDPR would make it easy to bring a case against Facebook if they were using the ingested data for any purpose other than supporting their own users.

The competing social network would probably need to have a privacy policy saying that other sites can ingest their data only if the remote user's "friend request" is accepted by the local user, and the data can only be ingested for a set of prescribed purposes.


I'm curious to see what the next 'social networking site' is going to be, but I'm also wondering how much our expectations of 'social networking' have changed since Facebook entered the room and took over the conversation. (Took over, not changed)

My chief complaint, personally about these sites is that I'll use it, just let me use it the way I want to in relative peace. That means: unless I subscribed to a specific type of update, I don't want to hear about it. No "In case you missed", no "Your other friends liked x, why don't you go indicate the same by interacting with UX feature 42", no "Hey friend 88 is on the platform, go look at what they're doing and signal your emotional reaction to it".

Never thought I'd ever say this: I want to see the baby pictures again. What are your families up to? How are you doing? Haha that video you shared is great, gave me a good laugh during my work break, here's a quick private message, let's catch up over a cold one this weekend. I miss our humorous conversations. THAT'S the kind of interaction I miss, when I was the one initiating it.

Some say this stuff is driving us further apart and I couldn't disagree more. It keeps us involved while respecting the fact that we want to have independent lives we live on our terms. It lets my friends four states a way know I'm not affected by the bombings here in Austin while also giving me another resource to pop in more 1-to-1 and see if I can crash on their couch when I come to town.

I like that. It allows groups of friends to breathe when the pressure isn't to share everything but actually....create....NETWORKS.

Get it social networking sites? I want to use these features, but I want to use them on my terms, for crying out loud.

So to anyone who wants to take up this challenge...I'm not telling you how to run your site, but if you heed the above I may sign up.


Most people I know have switched to WhatsApp exactly for the reasons you mention. I'm not a very social person, yet I'm already in multiple chat groups: 'family', 'siblings', 'social groups', 'activity groups'. It's the same for almost everyone I know.

Feature-wise, I'd much prefer everyone switch to Telegram, but I wouldn't be surprised if these features come to WhatsApp soon. Main reason I think they haven't is that Facebook might still try to make their main product 'work', or perhaps some kind of anti-trust issues?


Diaspora, Pulse and a half a dozen other sites and apps tried, and failed spectacularly.

The replacement to Facebook, when it comes along, will look nothing like Facebook.


How could we get the government involved? There's public broadcasting, NPR, PRI, etc.... Is 'social media' so different rather than just being the next communications' platform?

It's a serious question too, what would it look like to create a public/government arm of social media?


what would it look like to create a public/government arm of social media?

Ever been to the talk page of a Wikipedia article?


Maybe like reddit?


Maybe we shouldn't replace cancer with cancer, and should simply get rid of it.

Edit: I honestly don't think it's hard. Delete your facebook, stop using it and don't replace it with something else. People lived without being used by social media services for a very long time.


One problem other than convincing people to use it is convincing people to pay for it.

If we don't like Facebook's business model of using user data to make money we'd have to charge people to use it, and not a lot of people would be willing to do that.

Of course, one could argue that it's possible to make money with user data without being evil, but no one seems to have managed to do that so far. I bet if this project became as successful as Facebook it would be hard not to end up in the same exact spot.


You can't invent away human nature. Given time, if the goal is to replace Facebook verbatim we can expect to see a similar result.


> Join the mailing list to receive regular updates and sign-up for the discussion group on... Facebook!

Is it a kind of a parody?


Scuttlebutt for the win!


While I quite like Scuttlebutt, it suffers from the issue that you need to manually add a 'pub' before you can actually use it.

I suppose it's also a pretty big issue that one can't have multi-device accounts yet (which is being worked on, as I understand it).


this was app.net’s goal right?


I t thought their target was Twitter, not Facebook.


oh yea i think you are right.




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