* Funded by subscriptions.
* Free from ads.
* Since it is not ad dependent, yes, it can also provide a chronological timeline.
* Two post types supported: Text and Photo. Because sometimes a photo does tell a thousand words.
* Links to websites not supported in posts. Avoids viral proliferation of dumbed down politics, fake news, or stupid memes. If you want to get to the web or read the news, don't use a social network. They're here for you to be social. As in talk. Chat. Write things about your day. Ask others about their day. You get the picture. Being social.
* Shares or "retweets" not supported. Also to disrupt viral spreading of stuff that is almost never about socializing, and nowadays instead disturbingly often about wanting to be virally spread as a goal in itself.
* And finally... "Likes" not supported. You don't chat with friends at a café to get nods, right? You chat because you have something to say. If what you post is never commented on, yes, you can take it as a hint that you have little interesting to say. You can then choose to ignore that, or not. Comments, a will by others to interact, were always the true "like" anyway. If you write to be "liked", as many on Facebook do, you write for the wrong reasons, at least on a SOCIAL network.
Since it is funded by subscriptions, it ought to lift the quality by this fact alone. Less shitposting. I guess one might say I want a social network. I have yet to see one that is just a social network.
This sounds like it might be a good idea because it seems like it would remove the incentive to monetize personal information, but in practice it creates a barrier to adoption and makes the social network kinda useless.
I joined a subscription-based social network that was designed for expats . It was by all-accounts well-designed, well-managed and had everything going for it. But no one in my circles are part of it, and the event lists were really thin because the network was really thin (and I live in one of the largest cities in the U.S.). It does "work" for some definitions of work, but it isn't very successful (though there seems to be enough people on it to make it sustainable--I wonder about retention rates past year 1).
I suspect the things on your list were conceived based on your circumscribed experiences and are not what the general market really wants. It could work in a more niche setting, but you'd have a hard time scaling the business model.
The main thing is that you're trying to bootstrap new cultural norms. If there weren't so much inertia around free services, people would probably be fine paying a few bucks per month for certain classes of services.
I've always thought it would be a great idea to fund message boards, communities, etc., by keeping track of users' individual resource usage and making that info visible to them.
GitHub is free for most, for example, and others pay for some extra perks. But even then, the price structure comes off as pretty arbitrary.
Since Patreon became a thing, I've seen some people set up funding goals that take the form of explaining that it takes, say, ~$85 per month to cover the costs of running servers, but that doesn't really accomplish what I'm talking about, since it's still too easy to treat it as a shared commons.
A running sum is able to make the point unambiguously; it says something along the lines of, "because of the requests we had to handle to serve your use of the site, we are now on the hook for paying $2.74 so far this month". If you're a magnanimous admin, you can continue operating free services, but just "soft bill" people with a pay-what-you-want scheme (by which I mean guilt them). If you're actually trying to cover costs you do hard billing, but offer the first year free or something, which also removes one of the barriers of getting started—so long as we're operating on the assumption that we've already managed to establish it as a new cultural norm.
Resource-proportionate billing also has the nice side benefit of getting people to be more conscious of wasting time on the site—breaking the cycle of idly refreshing the home page to procrastinate.
What you most likely really want for a self-sustaining social network is community funding where some self-clustering communal unit (the finding of which might be hard as here too you likely want communities to network and organically overlap together) is encouraged to grow organically as a network and raise funds together.
You can somewhat see experiments in this space in the Mastodon world where some instances try to define community boundaries, and find ways to together pay instance hosting costs.
Community funding as a topic also brings up the question of tax-funded as an option or even a necessity. Are social networks a public good? Are they maybe the true "highways" of the internet that should be governed as such?
People buy glittery items like make overs, buttons, or GIFs (not sure), very similar to what reddit gives you when you're gilded.
Probably, a social network can sell virtual tractors & houses to keep their platform alive.
I’m sure there are lots of people who would pay for their friends. Most people have like 4 good friends, max, anyways. The rest are really just acquaintances, who may be on the network because someone else sponsored them.
And that’s how it can start off. Me and my close friends. I don’t really talk to the whole world so I don’t need the whole world on it. But if I have an acquaintance who is on the platform then great, we can connect on there, too.
And it doesn’t have to be a ridiculous sum. The company can still be very profitable with charging only $1/person/month. With 5 people that’s $60/yr. Facebook makes ~$25 per person in the US and Canada. That works out to 1/5 of facebook’s per-person profit. If a company made 1/5 of facebook’s profit (at facebooks scale), it would be an incredibly successful business.
Plus, facebook has a bunch of crappy UI that exists for the sole purpose of shipping ads. Without the incentive to ship ads to the user, the experience for the users would be waaaaay better. And without the need to collect and analyze so much data about each user, and then manage an ad distribution platform on top of that, the costs of running the platform would be lower.
This seems to be such a key factor that you have to almost intentionally wreck the network for people to eventually, reluctantly, leave.
 I feel 30 would be to short to round everyone up and get them to actually try it.
And you and I (and probably some more people of HN) would pay that. But 99% of the 2 billion people that use FB wouldn't.
Anyways, this is your ideal network and so please disregard my opinion on how it should work :)
I’m working on a social network that does most of what you mentioned. I never thought about reposts being a quick and easy way of stopping the spread of viral misinformation, I like that idea.
"Funded by subscriptions" more or less guarantees the former will not happen. People want stuff for free.
>Shares or "retweets" not supported. Also to disrupt viral spreading of stuff that is almost never about socializing, and nowadays instead disturbingly often about wanting to be virally spread as a goal in itself.
Sadly, reshares are part and parcel of a community - even before the days of the Internet. For many, gossip is part of socializing. A friend posted that he's just getting married. People will want to spread the word. How can they without reshares? Rewrite it themselves? Resharing is simply part of usual human interaction.
That seems, with all due respect, bananas. There are loads of reasons to have a link in your post, not least because you may use a third party photo host and you want to link to your holiday snaps without having to copy everything everywhere.
Even ignoring that though, you can't share recipes, tracks on youtube, programming blog posts, a cool pair of shoes, a link to a book your friend has been looking for for years...?
Links are the web, it would feel hollow without them.
It is so rare to actually see people post "Here's the recipe for a great cake that I, myself, made today!" or "Here's the latest program that I have made!" or "Here's an excerpt of a new book I'm writing!" It's what I'd expect to see on a social network, but don't. Social networks to me have become strangely disconnected from the real personal lives. It's a filtered view and I think links exemplify it in the worst way. They're impersonal and often just point to random articles online. I've also found that I get more comments on text posts than links. People don't seem to even open them very often.
I can see a compromise though. Allow communities, like Facebook Groups, where links are allowed to be posted. So people can join food groups, programming groups, and so on. That way, you still avoid all the junk links and flooding your feed with e.g the latest makeup tips, while still opening channels for people who are interested in these things.
There could be two kinds of communities, too. Location-based communities (based on geolocation, a la Jodel) and interest based communities. I've found that location based communities can fill quite an interesting niche! People don't know each other, but what they discuss is all relatable, and if you travel, you can quickly get tips about the area, too.
It touches on another problem I have with Facebook and many other social networks. They assume that just because we have some sort of relationship with each other, maybe work, maybe old friends, maybe family, we may still not share interests. It's not always shared interests that make me follow people, but to just stay in touch.
My issue is really the spreading of viral links, fun and memes, or inflammatory posts, all that have become so common with time at least in my feed.
Also: feeds are not ranked because of monetization...they are ranked because they work better that way
I wish there was a social network that could somehow avoid people competing to post the highest volume of popular content, so they could relax and focus on posting information about themselves that other people want to know. But even if you were somehow able to force people to just post about themselves, no third-party content, there are plenty of people who would make a meal of it by posting endless videos about their grooming regimen, their cooking, or cute stuff their cat does. It all just devolves into competing for attention. Hmmm.
How about a social network in which everybody is guaranteed equal exposure, and posting more content only dilutes your own content, not everybody else's?
It's not perfect, nor does it hit all your points but it's a start (of a trend at the very least)
>Your friend just shared this cool Spotify song, please sign up for Spotify at Vero's special rate of $3.99 / month to listen.
Even on the landing page there is an advertisement for me to order a photo book of Prince.
This does not seem very social, it's just more hyped up media.
- Designed with strong privacy and anonymity of its users in mind
That's basically what the old internet and old BBS systems were like, before anyone cared to track and spy on their users.
What you're saying sounds basically like chat.
The only way social is going to work and be improved going forward is through decentralisation and taking our data out of the hands of a central repository where it can be used to target us, and is more vulnerable to breaches. Once we have that baseline the other problems can be solved by the communities themselves.
I’m a huge privacy advocate but the decentralized Facebook alternatives are a little wonky for most to get their heads around. Jane Average user could care less about blockchain hosted personal data. In most cases Jane just wants Facebook and is a little worried about what’s happening to her data. Facebook maybe more than any other alternative is in the best position to solve the user problem here.
However, blockchain is absolutely not the only decentralization support, and might be the worst candidate to store data ever. If your comment about that was not a joke, then maybe you should actualize your knowledge on decentralized algorithms (for example, strong consensus as in the blockchain can be achieved using stellar consensus protocol, and many decentralized services work perfectly using peer to peer technology - not only file sharing).
Also, I find your comment about "Jane Average" quite inappropriate. Anyone can understand it's bad to give too much power to companies whose interests are financial. Moreover, it's inacurate : the current scandal and outfire against Facebook mostly comes from "Jane Average" people, and not the technical community who's mostly saying "we already knew it".
As a society, we are not even close to being there. There isn't a single person I personally know who has decided to leave Facebook for this reason.
>Moreover, it's inacurate : the current scandal and outfire against Facebook mostly comes from "Jane Average" people, and not the technical community who's mostly saying "we already knew it".
Frankly, I see little evidence of this. It seems mostly coming from activists.
Thank you! Was about to reply the same thing when I read that comment.
> for example, strong consensus as in the blockchain can be achieved using stellar consensus protocol
I don't really think a social network needs that much consensus. Not for personal data anyway. As you control your own data, there is no need for consensus with others :)
My point is these networks will and need to replace the centralised social model which is what this new network is.
So if all information has to be accessible and any node has access to all of it, or can aggregate it over time, then it's effectively centralized. Not to mention multiple nodes means anyone can tap into the information stream for whatever purpose.
So I see a case where centralization is somewhat critical but with tighter controls over what that data can be used for. Facebook was a headlong charge into new territory in information management and now I think we need to step back and examine how we better manage that.
That said I've spent about as much time thinking on it in depth as I have writing this post so I may be missing something quite obvious.
Second, there is no way that a decentralized social network is going to have the quality and feature development that a centralized company will have. There is a reason people build great things in this world from buildings, to widgets, to software etc. It's called incentive. Capitalism drives innovation and it's a requirement to have the quality of product that is needed to draw eyeballs off existing platforms.
Lastly, I don't buy the argument that centralized companies can't be responsible with data. Do we trust banks to hold our money? The future is not decentralized social networks.
Agreed, but judging from the last few weeks, Jane Average apparently does care:
- they have control over their data
- can see the stuff they want
- and can have good blocking tools
Which all require decentralisation (in latter case because open APIs hurt monopolies).
End users don't care about data structures in any system, centralised or not.
So naturally for all your emails you have in your inbox the sender has them in their outbox...and every email you sent also exists as a copy in somebody else’s inbox.
And you can’t control whether the other parties host their own email server or if they use a hosted service...in which case, guess what: now a third party also has a copy.
Now to hosting your own email server...who is gonna stop your Datacenter from obtaining a copy of your emails? They call it backups ;)
It’s easy to talk to your Barista about decentralization and blockchain as the solution to privacy...but actually making that a reality is not.
And we haven’t even touched on spam...how you gonna fight that in a decentralized network? How about bots?
I could go on but I hope you get the picture.
I imagine his problem is: he wants to make money :)
None of that matters for me though, because when I attempted to sign up from my laptop I got the message 'Sorry, we're mobile only'. I see no compelling reason to be mobile-only at full launch. Mobile-first for your MVP with early adopters, yes that makes a great deal of sense. But when a company does a full launch I think they should support as many of the major platforms as they can (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS).
Also, I am not convinced that we need yet another social media company (YASMC, "Yazz-em-see"?) that is centralized and will by necessity make money by monetizing attention.
Cal Newport thinks social protocols are the answer, as he discusses in http://calnewport.com/blog/2018/03/20/on-social-media-and-it.... I agree. I worked on this as the OASIS XDI technical committee co-chair for a while, and am working on something new now.
Group one are the Trumps and Putins. The guys who want to control everything. They always want to centralize everything with themselves standing at the top. Sadly a lot of people with power/money are like that.
Group two are the dont-care folks. The ones that sign up to every next facebook because they don't care if their data is misused. The ones that make jokes about Zuckerberg today, but still use FB. They won't put up with the slightest bit of uncoolness or usability discomfort no matter what harm it does to their freedoms.
Sadly both these groups work very well together. Basically I gave up hope that anything reasonable can be achieved as long as both these exist. There's only the option to join either group and live with what these groups bring with them.
(On Android, Hello gets access to your contacts, your rough location, the ability to read and modify your storage, use your camera, and view your Wi-Fi connections)
I understand why it wants contacts, to make it easy to add people, but again, it can be done in a "let the OS offer the contact picker" way, if we're making a privacy-respecting app.
If Google is expected to be the steward of protecting users, they should not allow apps on the Play Store which don't use the most privacy-respecting method possible to implement the needed functionality.
In fact when I use reddit from my phone (through Firefox) I force it to use the non-mobile version as I find it much faster (as long as you open every link in a new tab).
I understand the need for such verification when a webmaster wants to prevent easy re-registrations of trolls and/or banned members, and it's still better than Google's invite only system for when they release something big like gmail or g+, but it's a dark pattern all the way.
 I stated "used" because there are plenty of apps (and underlying networks) related to decentralized social platforms that are already developed and in existence...more people simply have to make use of them.
While true, they probably won't be the first answer. You need a some of these networks with real traction (or at least one huge one) so they can derive a protocol from the greatest common factors between them. To preemtively make a protocol sans popular implementation has little value and often ends in low adoption. As we've learned, the success of a protocol is more about its popularity than its presence or quality. So I say let these networks gestate and once the market (of people, not money) starts picking winners, then begin your abstraction.
And for those (of us) working on solutions to this problem space now, keep going. You don't need a committee or standards doc or whatever. You just need an awesome impl.
It's fairly trivial to build a webapp around APIs that they've probably already developed for android/ios apps, so it's hard to forgive them for not having it ready by now.
As it stands, I love the concept of a social network. I want a platform that facilitates at arms length socialization, because I'm rarely that in-person social with most of the people I know. A social network fills that need nicely. Yet, with that said, I don't want centralization or obvious control over the information flow and ultimately how we think/interact.
I feel like a scuttlebutt-like solution is the answer, but I think it needs a bit more features. Like editing, web usage from federated platforms, etc.
I don't really like that pubs work by me following them and them following me. When I open Patchwork most of my feed for any given channel is filled with notifications of people subscribing to that channel rather than actual posts.
But I do really like the adhoc, decentralized nature of it.
The tricky part is scaling it. The original version as a .NET app and it couldn't handle the number of simultaneous users.
Everyone thinks that the main competitor for building communities is Facebook.com. But fbook.com does not build communities, they digitize existing ones.
So all these new apps come out with "better facebooks" not realizing (or accepting) that they already exist as Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram. These existing platforms are very good at true connection and community building.
How does "Hello" fit into that?
I know we all want alternatives to the status quo, but you're not going to find it among a bunch of copycat services that haven't solved any of the fundamental problems causing us so much trouble today.
I totally admire the effort to bring back Orkut, but I don't see any value proposition that makes me want to try this out other than some philosophical words that anyone can say.
In fact, I have never seen a product introduced in these philosophical ways succeed. The only signal I get from this is that the creator is naive (No offense, I'm sure the creator is insightful as he's the one who created one of the earliest social networks in the world, but just saying that's not what the copy on the website is signaling).
If you believe in "love, not likes", I would like to see HOW you implemented it. Otherwise there are tons of social networks out there each with its own twist in "connecting with people with similar interests".
Maybe there's more to the product than what the website says, and if that's the case, you should show that instead.
I'm sorry, but this sounds like a joke to me. Loves instead of likes? Is this the first thing you want to say about your born again social network.
> I designed hello to help you connect with people who share your passions.
Sound very much like the “Facebook has always been about helping people make connections” mantra.
So, I guess it's Facebook with loves and mobile app only... Say what you want about Mastodon, but at least it's a real alternative.
> hello is the first social network build on profound friendships instead of 'likes'.
So maybe it is a social network whose focus is people you really know well instead of companies and random people? I dunno, it's still very vague.
I read the English to imply that the network is based on your "loves" (passions, hobbies, goals) but the Portuguese makes it pretty obvious that's not right at all. I have a hard time interpreting the English in any way that matches the Portuguese version.
Funny, that was FB's advantage over MySpace. But, I suppose FB found it too limiting to only monetize real relationships.
Anyway, it sounds like a very short time for something that was created, became a such relevant part of my life and all my friends, then disappeared.
If asked from top of mind, I would say it was founded 20 years ago.
I miss communities with names like “Eu abro a geladeira pra pensar” (from Brazilian Portuguese: I open the fridge to think). I haven’t seen any social media allow names and topics like that and present them in the same way that orkut did.
Orkut was all about communities in a way that neither facebook or reddit are. They were part of your identity in the network. Those were nice years.
I was part (in pt-BR): "I thought it was ice cream but it was beans" and "I like coke without gas".
It is something about signaling your identity online that is less pretentious, it takes itself less seriously than what you see today on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.
It also wasn't as vicious as the informal forums like 4Chan and some subreddits. These take themselves very seriously in conforming to the "let's not take ourselves too seriously" culture.
It is hard to determine if it was the product or the current overall internet culture at the time that was responsible for this more healthy (IMO) environment.
But having Orkut in my college years certainly made be a happier person.
Today's news burst seems to be that Hello has launched in India.
If they're looking to capitalise on FB's data revelations, asking to download binaries is the wrong way to go about it. You need a no-commitment approach here.
India probably dominates the downloads due to population differences.
You see this most clearly in conservative v liberal tribalism, but that example is so close to most people you may not see it.
Even the most horrible "haters" feel they are protecting or preserving their secularism/race/religion/political opinion etc
There must be user-levels on FB, and FB might even be charging money to their most privileged users for various rights you couldn't imagine. Even getting a verified account could cost a lot of money, who knows?
add: actually I just imagined what rights they have: IP theft, made legal.
As soon as you upload something to FB and IG (a photo or text,) it belongs to FB, right?
So say you upload a photo and some famous person likes it and copies it 99% of the way, but they have the permission to do that from FB then it's not theft, right?
But there must be a guilty conscience otherwise why hide the famous person from doing the following in the first place? It's a leaching mentality. You've walked through the jungle and got some leaches stuck to you. Whose fault is that?
I don't get why app developers feel the need to add restrictions like that. Don't they need early adopters?
Also it's mobile only at this point. While I understand why, another app that's supposed to increase my mobile addiction won't change the world and is not going to win me over, sorry.
"Please give your data to us instead of Facebook, Google, or the other usual suspects."
> Each milestones, unlock rewards, and add layers of fun to your social connections as you venture through hello.
I thought we wanted to move away from gamified social interaction
A service that is, as this is billed, just a social network, with no clear defining feature or problem it’s solving, is vapid and akin to the dotcom bubble.
I’m finding that “social networks” should be a consequence of a product that solves a real problem, not that product’s raison d’etre. And furthermore, given the data collection/privacy zeitgeist of late, I’m of the belief that a social network developing within your service is a liability.
While I agree with your main points I would object to your objection that someone can't launch a social network in and of itself. But I do think if you're going to launch a social network you're going to have to tell me how to differentiate your product from all the other products out there.
From reading the comments here I think a new social network needs to say the following up front:
- closed or open source?
- centralised or decentralised? federated or not?
- up-front fee, subscription service or paid for by advertising?
- is there an API? how granular is it?
- what about sharing and following?
- what specific niche are you aiming at or are you going for a general audience?
- is your product aiming to be a platform?
- how are you different from the incumbents?
- mobile or web or native or some combination of the above?
- in short, let me know your angle, and give me reasons to try you out
Facebook mainly solves one problem: How do I keep in communication with the many people I know IRL? This is a real problem for many people, especialy when you have friends/family all over the country/world.
Any would-be strict competitor with Facebook will have to deal with a bootstrapping problem: How do you get enough people who know each other IRL to sign up and use the website?
Relaxing any one aspect of that, I think, will make success much easier:
* Enough people: You could have a niche focus (car forum) or a niche community (forum for one Eve Corp).
* Know eath other IRL: You could have an anonymous forum (4chan) or a pseudonymous forum (Reddit).
* Sign-up: Twitter, YouTube, and most forums don't require signups to view user-provided content. 4chan doesn't even require login to post.
Also strange that an app asking me for my real name isn’t being louder about their stance on privacy at signup (given the present climate).
That said, it feels like mobile-only Reddit, but without the user base.
When Orkut was discontinued, I was too sad.
On the other hand, having your social network associated with orgasms might not be such a bad plan!
This app can:
- find accounts on the device
- read your contacts
It says he was a google engineer, but I get the impression he left. So this is independent, right?
Hello's loss, not mine…
Good bye, Orkut! You didn't even give me a chance to convince me I should make the effort of installing yet another app on my phone.