* 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.