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Going old school: how I replaced Facebook with email (chaddickerson.com)
269 points by bellinom 31 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 145 comments

There's one aspect of Facebook which seems to always be ignored by these "deleting Facebook" posts and it confuses me.

I've never really scrolled through the frontpage, I don't look at people's posts and photos, happy to message them through text or WhatsApp, but I absolutely need the events. Without them, I'd lose so much touch with all but my closest friends.

People tend to respond to this concern with "if they don't invite you individually they aren't that great a friend" but that's my point - they're not, but they're people I like and I like to see them a few times a year at birthdays and other celebrations, and I'd feel my life diminished if I didn't have them. But there are dozens, I don't have time to catch up with them for coffee, and I don't honestly love the pressure of one-on-one time with people who aren't very close to me, anyway.

People who advocate deleting Facebook, do you not have/want such relationships? Or do you not care for catching up in that way? Or do you have some solution? Because for me it's the absolute core feature of Facebook.

Facebook is a very good contacts app attached to a very good events app. The problem is that these things are attached to a massive surveillance advertisement network run by what appears to be a very shady company.

Since deleting FB of course I've missed out on some parties, and I've lost touch with a couple of people I only spoke to on Facebook. But the upside is that I'm no longer on Facebook and I think that's an extremely fair trade. If you're worried about it, slowly move your contacts onto another messaging service and have them contact you through there.

Personally, the upsides are much greater than the downsides. If I run into an acquaintance at a party it's actually a nice surprise, and I don't already know everything they've been up to since we last met, I have to ask questions to find out.

I deleted facebook years ago and I haven't missed it since and I've never felt like I'm missing out on anything.

I don't consider the hundreds of people that I had on facebook that I only met a couple of times a year to be my friends anymore. They're just acquaints at this point and I really have no interest in them or their lives or catching up with them just because we used to work together or used to hang out through mutual friends years ago.

We occasionally run into each other, we shake hands and exchange a few words and then part ways. However I know that I could pick up my phone right now and call a lot of them and they will be up for a coffee or lunch in the next few days but it's not like I would invite them over to my place for drinks, dinner etc for my birthday or some other celebratory reason.

I have a handful of people in my life that I would consider being my friends that I keep in touch with on a regular basis and I don't need facebook or any social media to maintain a meaningful relationship with them.

I agree with this and I think it has a lot to do with free time. In college, if I was asked to go to a party by an acquaintance, I'd probably say yes. Once I started working, getting into serious relationships, and adding more day responsibilities; the answer changed to no. I'm at capacity with how many relationships I can meaningfully maintain, but I'm happy with the ones I have. That's not to say the acquaintances don't have value or I don't like them. I'd just rather go to a tech talk or spend time on one of my hobbies than go to a social event without any of my core friends. It's not that I don't enjoy the social events, they just have fallen far lower on my list of priorities over the years.

I deleted Facebook almost one year ago and I didn't have any issue either.

I made a few Telegram and Viber groups with people I want to stay in touch with, and we invite each other this way to evenings out or parties.

I have Twitter to keep up to date with musicians or news websites, and LinkedIn to keep in touch with ex-colleagues.

IMHO who says "if they don't write to you they are not your friends" is a bit lazy, as you can have groups on IMs (Telegram, Signal, Viber) and stay off Facebook property without too many issues.

I have been on Facebook for a decade and can count on one hand the number of events I cared about that I was invited to on FB. Maybe this is because I'm "old" (late 30s). Or maybe some friend groups simply do not use FB in this way. Most events I'm invited to are via email, evite, or text.

That makes sense, I wonder if it is just a generational thing (late 20s). While I'm aware of evites, I've never received one, and my circle of friends seem to basically set up a Facebook event and then forget about it.

I don't think I've ever received an invite to a casual event over text/email/phone either, except in conversations of the "Hey, what are you up to?"/"Going to a party, want to come?" ilk.

I am also younger (mid 20s) and I've had my FB deactivated for several years now; I also don't have Instagram or Snapchat. I admittedly do use Meetup.com and its app. Initially, I deactivated FB because I felt it was an addictive time-sink (as Semaphor mentioned elsewhere). Now, I spend a lot of time wondering whether I should completely delete it, because I honestly don't feel like I'm missing much.

I just text everyone I want to talk to.

Maybe it's because I went to a decently sized high school (a little under 2000). Or maybe it's because I currently live in a large city (top 20 populated city in the U.S.) Or maybe it's because I'm an extrovert.

But I would probably be overwhelmed by the sheer number of events my social network would produce on FB. I already accompany friends to events thrown by friends of friends pretty frequently.

How often do you go to these birthdays of people you barely hang out with? The average person has like 300 friends on FB. The median number is about 150-200. That's a lot of birthdays.

Friends on facebook doesnt mean friends in real life. Most peoples circle is less than 50.

Me too - I'm 38, live & work in London, still go out 4 or 5 nights a week (especially weekends) and everyone I'm "friends" with runs their social life almost exclusively through Facebook, as do I, with the exception of dates and just catching up with friends on a 1-2-1 basis (99% of which is arranged via WhatsApp).

So if I left Facebook I'd either never know about any of what's happening, or everyone would have to go out of their way to invite me especially, which I don't see as a viable long term thing for me or for them, over time they would increasingly forget to invite me - I've seen it happen with others who've tried to leave and had to return to get back in the loop!

Plus even if I posted to say that I was leaving Facebook my post wouldn't be seen by everyone so they wouldn't know, and if I disabled my account the post would disappear altogether.

So I'm locked in for the foreseeable future out of social necessity.

PS - I've never heard of Evite, until I just realised I thought it was being used as shorthand for an electronic invite, not an actual website.

I'm younger (early 30ies), I've never even heard of evite, I've probably gotten one e-mail invite in my life and haven't gotten a text invite pretty much since FB became open for everyone. A few invites arrive via snailmail, but the vast majority of invites are on FB. And that's not even mentioning public events, what do you do, look through all clubs and bar websites individually when you want to go out?

Never heard of Evite, that's incredible! I didn't realize that 5 years could make that big a difference. As for clubs and bars, I have a 4-year old so not hitting those much. But even before that, I never "liked" businesses on FB anyway, for privacy/tracking reasons.

I would think that this is more a cultural thing. Evite seems US-focused or at the very least English-only. While I use FB in English, I know most of my friends use it in German.

Evites aren’t very flexible though; one of the very useful features of facebook events is for organizing the members, e.g. “what are people bringing to the potluck?” “Does anyone have food restrictions?”

Evites have comments also. But I will say that the last time I used evite, the message went to the spam folder for several gmail users. Next time I'm going back to email!

It’s more than just comments - usually stuff like this is organized in the form of a pinned poll with a comments thread below. As people add comments they also change their poll selection. So you end up also having a real-time view of what people are bringing as well as an audit trail.

You could have the same thing in an email thread if you linked a spreadsheet in an email, but people are less likely to keep both in sync because the things are in two different contexts. And even so, what would you use? Google Apps? That’s just trading one data-hungry overlord for another.

Since we have so many examples of age and usage...

I'm 40. For me it depends on who is sending the invite. My wedding invites about 4 years ago were via email with a bespoke RSVP website (my first foray into react.js). 150 out of 180 people showed up from around the country of ages ranging from the upper-teens through the upper eighties. We shared the photos via Facebook (with links to S3 for originals if anyone wanted them)

My older friends and family (50+) send evites if they're savvy or call.

Most of my friends and family who were born / raised / never-left Chicago aren't even on Facebook unless they run a business that does well to promote there (tattoo artists, for example). For them, it's text, pre-announced phone calls, and drop-ins. The rest are like...

My friends and family from NYC, Austin, Seattle, and elsewhere who are within a decade of my age generally use facebook for larger events and text for smaller ones. Sometimes email. Sometimes a whatsapp group. It changes often.

This past NYE was at a bar in Indianapolis and we were invited by way of an SMS with a link to the Facebook RSVP (and ticket purchase) page. It was a 90s night, so I suppose that places the age group.

The people I know under 30 or so stopped inviting me to things after I got married. Their loss; we still like to party.

So... many many ways. I don't love facebook, but if everyone's using it, I suppose I can live with it.

If more than a few people I. Your group are not on Facebook people will invite using alternate means because otherwise they won’t be there, of course. That’s the network effect.

You (and me FWIW) both do this:

> I've never really scrolled through the frontpage, I don't look at people's posts and photos

Most people who tell everyone they are so happy they deleted facebook were for some reason or another not able to do that. For them, it was an addiction. So I'd guess getting rid of their addiction is simply more important than events.

The problem is that those posts never come straight out and say that they are about an addiction.

>The problem is that those posts never come straight out and say that they are about an addiction.

Good to see I'm not the only one thinking that. I have started to see posts with "here is how I quit Facebook and why you should to" as an alcoholic telling "here is how I quit drinking and why you should to". I like having a beer or two in the weekends and like to use 5-10 minutes in the mornings to scroll through the frontpage of Facebook, both of them are not harmful in any way. Getting problems because an addiction is something totally different and not a problem most have

> and I'd feel my life diminished if I didn't have them

That's a bit drastic. You would probably see a few of them more, and a few of them less. People managed relationships just fine before facebook.

Also events will still get to you though the contacts you do keep, did you know so&so got married, etc. People love sharing information (or gossip).

I get the fear, I faced it myself but in my case deleting FB, improved my life.

I do use whatsapp though.

I'm not suggesting it would mortally wound me, just what I said - it'd be a little worse.

I'm aware people managed before, but things have changed. I was just responding to a person talking about the myriad ways they get invited to things. Those simply don't happen to me. Everything is Facebook.

Marriages aren't really what I'm worried about (if I'm being invited to a wedding they're presumably the sort of friend who'll contact me directly) - it's the "Hey, it's my birthday, let's go down to the pub and knock back a few" sort of things.

I'm not afraid. If I were told tomorrow that I could never use Facebook again I'd be just fine, but I actually don't want to lose those things. I'm not really looking for head-patting, but people's experiences and whether/how they preserved those relationships.

Blimey, you've made me realise that without knowing about and then going to a Facebook event of a not-great friend I never would have met my husband.

I agree that the low friction (and also low expectation) invites for Facebook events are a really great feature.

That's how facebook onws you and keeps you from leaving: fear of missing out.

AFAIK most people who removed facebook from their life got an improvement out of it and fromt he feedback some of them gave, they did miss a few of those events but it did not matter much to them and the others they got invited or learn about through their newly rebuilt social links and did not miss.

I tried, and ended up losing contact with pretty much all of my family. Facebook is so deeply integrated with their daily lives that they consider e-mails, phone calls and SMS'es to be an unneccesary hassle.

After a while I had to get a new Facebook account, because people kept messaging my wife over messenger, asking her to forward the messages to me.

This. When you try to tell people this, especially here on HN, they say "well, people should just change to suit you or they're not worth contacting". The arrogance of the technically minded can be astounding; it took ten years to get our acquaintances on Facebook, they're not going to change just because we say so.

Sure, you won’t get passively invited to things, but if you regularly are keeping in touch with people they will invite you to things anyway.

That's the problem: pretty much everyone I know -- including my mother, who started claiming I was hard to get hold of when I asked her to call instead of messaging my wife on Facebook -- stopped keeping in touch. Most people I know simply don't want to talk over the phone, send SMS'es, or use emails ("email is for signing up to various services and resetting passwords").

how to become a social recluse 101: miss a couple of these facebook events, start getting known as an awkward anti-social person because you went to someone's launch event but not to their birthday party(coz bday invites only go out on facebook,no email or other discussion except maybe a text asking you where you are day of,hour of when you can't re-schedule another commitment)

Congrats, now you don't get invited to any of that person's events. Repeat until you only goto close friends events(who also start excluding you from invites because of accidental snubs)

With 'friends' like that, being a recluse sounds like a far better option. They sound like the kind of people who would think they are going to these events to 'network'.

Sounds like some pretty vapid people you’re referring to. Any social connections worth having are to people intelligent enough to understand that not everyone lives on Facebook.

Your friends don't sound like very nice people

My local friends just don’t use events. I don’t think I’ve been invited to an event on Facebook that wasn’t mass 300+ person spam in the past 5 years. If it’s someones birthday coming up, I’ll get a text and find out what bar we are going to. If it’s a professional event, I’m getting an email about it. I don’t see what the events page covers beyond these mass mailer commercial events that I’m going to ignore anyway. For things happening around town that are actually interesting, there’s always the city subreddit.

Agree that it's the biggest hurdle to overcome. I did delete facebook and I'm sure I miss out on some events as a result.

To your specific concern about meeting up with folks who "aren't that great a friend" - my solution has been the one-on-one coffees and it forces me to be much more mindful about who/how I reach out to.

I think catching up can be fun though. It doesn't need to be pressure filled if you're genuinely curious about what's happening in someone else's life, because we are all trying to do our best and that looks really different for different people.

Getting together with folks allows you to see how other people approach it if you ask questions.

This just got a lot more meta than Facebook, but hopefully there's something here that's helpful :)

> but that's my point - they're not, but they're people I like and I like to see them a few times a year

That's actually a very, very good point! I deleted my account about two years ago and that's probably the biggest downside. Not grave enough though to make me come back.

The youth group I was in used facebook extensively for its groups, pages, chat, and event features. It's honestly incredible for running an organization

I deleted facebook and made a newsletter much like the poster described, a little over a year ago.

For me, part of the motivation for removing facebook was removing the relationship load (for the lack of a better term), which categorizes the types of people you're describing. I'm sure people are different here, but I personally get plenty of exposure from non-core relationship from other sources (instagram(facebook 2.0 lol), twitter, etc.). The cost of keeping facebook just for those types of people didn't make sense for me.

I anticipated losing events to be a big deal, but it's worked out (maybe ignorance is bliss and I'm just missing out on everything).

If you can get emails every time you get an event, you could cease logging into Facebook and have them email you. Of course if they ever get rid of such emails that'd be pretty damn horrible. I always hear this about events, I guess I'm not in such a circle, every time I get invited to an event through Facebook it's never something I actually want to go to or people I want to hang out with. I try to only add people I don't mind seeing in real life, and mostly family.

There's only ever been like one event I was interested in and I just didn't have time to go to it, and it wasn't by any of my friends.

I feel like this is a cultural thing too, I'm Puerto Rican, and we just start calling everybody over the phone left and right when we have events. When I got married, my mom RSVP'd everyone over the phone practically.

I really want to see a social media type of site that does what G+ tried to do unrelated to any major social networking company (or advertising firm) that lets you have "circles" and have events, but somehow makes money without ads or selling anybody's data.

I have deleted Facebook before, so it doesn't phase me to stop logging on to it, I only keep it for family, but I may find myself replacing it with my own personal blog, and letting everybody know if they need me they can email me and my life updates will be on my personal blog instead.

This is exactly what makes Facebook so dangerous. Because so many people are blindly following it, it makes it hard to leave. Network effects are strong and make Facebook immensely powerful, and it is never good when any company wields such power.

Also, I think this is also politics. It's not good when people basically force you to use Facebook, otherwise you'd be cut off mostly. A change is impossible when some people aren't taking a stand.

Not really sure how to answer this because I am not sure how old you are. But your birthday example seems rather silly. Typically people either have big parties in which case one of your close friends will let you know there is a big party via text or WhatsApp as you say. This mimics exactly how Facebook works. Most of the time, a friend invites you to a big event, not the host. Otherwise, they don't want you at their private birthday dinner.

> Most of the time, a friend invites you to a big event, not the host.

Pretty much never had this happen to me. It's the host who invites and invites are sent via FB usually.

I'm curious, if you don't mind sharing, what age range are you? In my undergrad (5 years ago), big events with 100s of people were just mass invites. I never had big events like that out of not wanting to trash our house. The parties we had were around 50ish people and the only convenience that Facebook provided was less clicks to invite everyone. It also had the benefit of reminding people continuously what their Friday night plans are. I'm just struggling to understand the host that is unwilling to invite you because of a text message requirement but still judiciously picks which friends to invite via Facebook.

32. I never went to events with 100s of people.

Birthday parties are usually 10-30 people and invites are sent to, for example, school friends, many of whom you see maybe once a year if that much because you now live in different cities or even different countries.

Events are also wonderful for making new friends too. Its extremely low friction for someone you don't know very well to invite you to a party, you go then you get to know them better (or the other party guests). Someone who otherwise wouldn't know your contact info. I wouldn't have some of the good friends I have now without these sorts of casual interactions.

I've also reconnected with childhood friends through Facebook.

It’s a valid concern, but I couldn’t contribute to that unethical company any longer. I held on for a while but deactivated last month. It will be deleted beginning of February.

Also, if anything, I had noticed fewer people using Facebook for anything over the past few years, including events.

I don't get how so many replies to this comment completely miss the point and just say what you addressed...

It's not just somewhat-distant friends and/or family.

I've lost the count of how many local events I've subscribed and went to: flea markets, farm fairs, shop and cafe openings, celebrations, sales, hikes, hobbyist meetups, the list just goes on.

It's much much much easier for people to setup and coordinate events of almost any size through Facebook events. Nothing else comes even close. It's also incredibly easy to share and invite other people (within the FB platform/ecosystem of course).

My events are all organised through WhatsApp now (yes, it’s FB, but could be another messaging app I guess).

Most folk say 'deleting Facebook' then come back a few weeks later. Usually attention seeking.

> My email list is broadcast-only but any replies go directly to me.

This sort of mass-email is weirdly impersonal because it tells the recipient that you want them to know what you're up to, but you don't want to write a message just to them. Also, it would be very awkward to opt-out ("hey dude, um please don't send me your mass-email updates anymore."), unlike company emails which there's no awkwardness around unsubscribing.

I'm not saying this isn't better than FB, but it still has some downsides (some of which the author may be overlooking because they don't bother him).

> weirdly impersonal because it tells the recipient that you want them to know what you're up to, but you don't want to write a message just to them. Also, it would be very awkward to opt-out ("hey dude, um please don't send me your mass-email updates anymore.")

You mean, like a post on FB ? Or Tweeting ? Readable for all ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ ? Who very likely are not really interested in your message ?

With FB, a person has opted in to being your friend. With a mass email list, whoever knows your email can send it.

With FB, you go to the site to get basically this stream of opt-in announcements. With email, they are mixed with things that might require urgent action and direct personal messages and spam and what-not. Of course, I don't have FB on my phone and if I did it would be more intrusive.

>With FB, a person has opted in to being your friend.

And if for some reason you feel obligated to be someone's "friend" on Facebook, you can still opt out of seeing their updates. Not so with email, unless you write a filter that sends it straight to the trash.

Which I have in place for any email from my mom with a forward in the subject line. It helps maintain our relationship...

> Not so with email, unless you write a filter that sends it straight to the trash.

Right, so how is that not the same thing as opting out on FB? Because it’s 3 or 4 clicks (in Gmail) instead of 2?

It doesn't matter how many clicks it is. Email is one of the few sanctuaries away from mass social media. People are not expected to know how to do mailbox rules, nor should that ever be forced upon them. That is not the reason why they use email, it is not what they signed up for.

When you force people to learn things like that, you know what you're called? A spammer.

Are you aware that email is actually one of the early online mass social media ? and one of the few that actually deserves to be called social while other such as facebook and derivative are antisocial due to be based on exclusion for their closed nature.

I think the point is that they're trying to force communication patterns from FB into email. Just because they're both social media doesn't mean people wish to communicate the same way on both - different affordances lead to different behaviors.

Yep, and I'd say the masses, who only really came to the internet with the advent of web 2.0, only know how to do social media the new way, not the classic way.

Even technical users seem to want to move away from email for more than office communication and password resets. A lot of projects move off mailing lists and on to forums, issue trackers, etc. because the affordances just match modern expectations.

If you follow someone on Twitter, that means you want to get their updates. And it's trivially easy to mute people on Twitter/FB so that you can stop seeing people's messages without risking offending them or hurting their feelings.

Another reply mentions having people who don't want to read your email newsletter set up filters to get rid of them. This is possible, but more work than a two-click mute on social media platforms.

Don't get me wrong — I'm not saying FB/Twitter are "better" — just that this solution occupies a middle ground that creates different privacy/relationship issues.

> This is possible, but more work than a two-click mute on social media platforms.

It was four clicks for me to set up an email filter on Gmail in response to a message in my inbox.

And there's considerably more filtering options, had I wanted something non-trivial, than there are on FB or Twitter, which are all or nothing -- after all, on email I have the option to more than mute, such as to classify the message based on various parameters.

I think it’s interesting this point that keeps coming up about “offending” people.

If someone posts a heartfelt post on Facebook and not a single person likes or comments, isn’t there the same outcome?

I think this is the strangest appeal of social media - the devaluation of your message. I'm not inundating anyone if I take a lousy picture of fireworks; write an unremarkable status; or check in from my preferred, uninteresting eating establishment. It may show on a feed, or someone who visits my profile may see it, but it's a passive broadcast. An e-mail is intended to be read, a "post" is designed to be ignored.

> a "post" is designed to be ignored

I cannot imagine everyone thinks that why. Why even take the time to do it ? Are billions of people really that bored ? Then surely its time for humanity to end ;-)

Disclaimer: I am not on FB or Twitter (or whatever) - too busy otherwise, probably

web forums (and properly managed email lists) have Unsubscribe options and Pull alternative to Push for consuming content.

I have a few friends who send out periodic group emails like these, though IIRC only one uses mailing list software to do it. I really enjoy the mailings, and keep meaning to start sending them out myself.

Receiving one of the mailings feels much more personal to me than I guess seeing a fb post would (I've been off it for several years), and seems more likely to prompt a personal reply from me.

Not sure I understand the worry about awkwardness with opting out - surely it's just as easy to ignore an email as a post on "social media"?

"Broadcast-only" means subscribers can't post to it. But they still can reply to the list owner. It could be mixed with a blog, if you wanted to make it possible for subscribers (and others) to publicly interact.

Also, I don't see a problem if a person finds my emails uninteresting and unsubscribes.

> Also, I don't see a problem if a person finds my emails uninteresting and unsubscribes.

Sure, but do all of your recipients know that? The point is that some people would be very uncomfortable doing this, even if you wouldn't subjectively be offended by it. And as the author notes, doing an opt-in system makes things complicated and potential excludes less tech-savvy folks.

There are ways to solve this: 1. It could be written in message footer that I won't take unsubscribes personally. 2. That person could just create a filter for that mailing list to avoid unsubscribing.

Also, less tech-savy folks could just ask for help and I'd subscribe them manually.

Why not ask people to opt-in to your list? That’s how I would do it. I definitely have close friends and family that would be interested and it would eliminate 80% of the “friends” from Facebook I have no interest in conversing with at all.

I’ve deleted my Facebook account a few months ago after almost a decade of using it exclusively to sign up for random things. Clicking on the big blue button seemed easier than entering my e-mail and selecting a password, so I kept doing it until the privacy implications of this practice convinced me to abandon it.

However, I won’t be starting a mailing list any time soon.

Perhaps others lead vastly more interesting lives than I do, but I don’t feel any need to launch a personal mailing list about my life any more than I felt the need to share a stream of minutiae on Facebook. Moments that are genuinely dear to me - such as those relating to my family life - are none of anyone else’s business anyway.

3,000+ contacts over 20 years? My goodness, that’s a lot of people. I’m an immigrant 2x removed from his home country, from where I left too early in life to have developed relationships that could continue in the online age. I came to my current country too late to have gone to school here, so I don’t have the implied social network which usually comes with that particular experience.

99% of people I’ve interacted with happen to have been colleagues of mine at one time or another, or folks I’ve met while sitting on either side of the job interview table. While I have enjoyed some very productive work arrangements in the past, none of these people have kept in touch with me after myself or them have moved on to another company.

All this is to say: I would be astonished if anyone wanted to read about the details of my life. These aren’t useful - or indeed enjoyable - to anyone but me and my family, which is where the details shall remain.

Forget going email - I am thinking of going back to snail mail. I received a written card invitation in the mail yesterday from a good friend [0] inviting our family to a dinner, and it felt indescribably nice to get it and read it.

Something nice about holding it in your hands and reading it, then placing it on my desk somewhere so I could see it and be reminded of the good feelings every time I glanced at it.

[0] - https://twitter.com/dsabar/status/1085727043956830209

I write letters to a friend in the U.S. from NZ at least once every 2 months. If you don't have stamps and envelopes handy it can be annoying at times but there's something about spending an hour reading, re-reading and then writing a personal letter by hand.

Also, once you write something, there's no backspace. You either re-write the page completely or leave a mess.

For any social network to work you’d need most of your connections to get onboard the same thing, whether it’s Facebook or anything else. It’s easy for some people to start emailing their friends but it’s hard to imagine that the general public start doing the same thing, and without that, the alternative won’t go very far.

In fact I’d find it much more annoying than Facebook if I start receiving such emails from friends.

Here’s the fundamental thing. We don’t need digital social networks. Email, just like mail, is sufficent.

Pretty much. There is simply no reason why I need to know what all my friends are doing and how they are feeling every single day. I just wish we had a good alternative for event organizing because that imo is the greatest value in facebook.

Good news is that the people behind the "De-google-ify Internet" who gave us many alternatives including peertube are currently working on this.

The solution is called Mobilizon, it was initiated at the end of 2018, is currently at prototyping stage and is scheduled for release in late 2019 as stated on the official website: https://joinmobilizon.org/en/

>I just wish we had a good alternative for event organizing

There are many alternatives, see: https://blog.thefetch.com/2013/05/28/10-cool-sites-for-event...

Sadly, the very fact that there are many alternatives means that none of them are good.

The goodness of an event planning platform comes from everyone using it. Metcalfe’s law in action.

I say this as a non-Facebooker, fyi. Events kept me on the platform well after the rest of it became net-negative.

I do maintain my social graph and as a result use Messenger sometimes. If someone really wants to talk I go elsewhere for the conversation.

Does not necessarily means they're not good though. If those several alternatives are federated through activitypub and part of the fediverse, as Mobilizon will be when released, then strength is in the number of alternatives.

Then again Metcalfe's law has a flipside relative to the cost of exclusion from the network to those included and society, and this costs grows bigger as the dominant network grows bigger. Among the effects of such exclusion is the existence of parallel networks such as the alternatives mentioned here, and what makes them very good is that they cater to some of those excluded from the dominant network. Dark side of Metcalfe's law in action.

Had facebook not been an antisocial closed network preying on its users but open and federated as the internet has been deisgned then things would have been different, right now the problem seems to be that facebook captured a majority of internet users in some geographical areas and does everything possible to keep them captive.

It may be sufficient, but sufficient isn't the same as ideal. What people have come to expect of social media, of forums, etc. does not translate particularly well to email.

Yes, it can be done, but it's not going to be how people, _ordinary_ people, expect. The world has had 10 years to get used to the Facebook and Twitter workflow, they're not going back just because we think email is sufficient.

Also people have been been trained to misuse email. My coworkers, who are all in IT, can't quote correctly. I am bewildered by the level of ignorance of what email has to offered shown by some comments here. How to stop receiving messages? Well, just make a filter if you don't want to hurt the sender's feelings.

I blame it on the webmail wave that offered to the newbie Internet users of the nineties poor interfaces to email. People used it and said: "email sucks". No, that's just webmail that sucked. And stills sucks compared to native clients (except for Outlook that equally sucks in a different way).

When you take a good look at email it is the ideal medium for social micro-networks:

- no registration, no opt-in. All you need to start a conversation is an email address. - no vendor lock-in: thousands of email clients exist, on all platforms. - with a decent client, you manage your messages the way you want, not the way some company wants.

Let's put it differently: how to create a social micro-network in three easy steps: 1. Get the email addresses of the people you want to talk with 2. Send them an email when you want to say something 3. (optional) write a blog post about how to use group email well and put it in your signature.

Also, although I dislike it for it is often misused and abused, HTML-mail covers 99% of fancy formatting needs.

> What people have come to expect of social media, of forums, etc. does not translate particularly well to email.

Agreed. Email is for communication. Social media are for fun, distraction and procrastination. Social media are MMORPGs.

> Social media are for fun, distraction and procrastination. Social media are MMORPGs

To be fair, you get out of social media whatever you want. If you want to use it for fun, distraction, and procrastination, you can. If you want to use email for those things, you can. I have friends who do.

Personally, I'm fine with social media being websites/apps and mail being mail. Nobody emails me cookie recipes, 'interesting' GIFs and links to funny videos, discounts on snake-oil medication, surveys to find out what Disney Princess I am, inflammatory political posts, or megabytes upon megabytes worth of photos that I don't really want to delete because I know I'll need to come back to them again at some point.

More importantly, everybody being away from email means I'm far less likely to be spammed. What I get in my inbox is what I want to see, nothing more, nothing less, and with no bloat. I'm happy with the status quo, much more than when people actually emailed me and I had to swift through messages to find out what to keep or delete — in the days before Gmail, might I add.

Email's my sanctuary, I'll not have that taken away. :-)

and they're not going to untrain themselves because you want them to. you're just going to get tagged as the email spammer

Well we are back to square one: people grow discontent with social media (addiction, privacy violations, fake news), some guy suggests that the old tech from the 20th century can cover their actual needs pretty well.

I personally believe people should transition out from social-media-everything because social media are to society what pollution is to climate.

Luckily I've solved both problems by removing all the friends from the equation. No annoying emails, no dystopic social media platforms! Just me and a bottle or five. What's the downside?

In case you're serious, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/loneliness:

>Not surprisingly, feelings of isolation can have a serious detrimental effect on one's mental and physical health. Loneliness can be a contributing factor to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, among other critical diseases. Lonely people are also twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. At the root, isolation compromises immunity, increases the production of stress hormones, is harmful to sleep, and impacts cognitive abilities. All of this feeds chronic inflammation, which lowers immunity to the degree that lonely people even suffer more from the common cold. Loneliness can be a chronic stress condition that ages the body and causes great damage to overall well-being.

For me, it's more like, "How I never replaced email with Facebook."

Same here. Though I had not foreseen that email would be replace by mobile number among the younger generations who often now do not even have email or do not use it or do not expect email to be used for actual people to people communication.

- there are innate structures in relationship, and changing that (facebook blurs the naturally local/private lines) harms people

- no beginning or end in the streaming era of web (unlike the slow static documents early model)

- not knowing is ok, great even

facebook is an amplifier of huamn relationship, but amplitude is not a measure of quality

Here's how I replaced Twitter with email.


e.g. Weekly digest of the tweets by Paul Graham: https://i.imgur.com/kd8SCKv.png

Wow, this is something I did not know I wanted. After having left Twitter a while I find myself missing some of the tweets from the more interesting people I followed.

I mainly stopped using Twitter because of the ads, slowly ruining third party clients (Tweetbot was what I used), and the tracking.

Thanks for sharing this!

Why not use rss-bridge[1] to make a rss feed for you twitter needs ? There are several public instances that allow you to do exactly that.


This is something I definitely wanted and didn't know about. Thanks!

I'm not sure what Mailchimp is doing in this scenario. Couldn't you just…you know…send an email? Using BCC, of course.

* Mail email hosts are not cool with sending messages to large quantities of recipients because it looks like spamming, sending via a host that exists for sending mass email solves that.

* The Mailchimp platform provided some automation for the author when first asking people to opt-in. Presumably each message also includes an Unsubscribe link at the bottom which is less awkward to use than replying to the author, asking that they stop sending the email.

* TFA mentions Mailchimp's templates, it's not easy to create readable formatting of lengthy emails in standard email clients.

* It eliminates the possibility of screwing up and addressing the email to recipients using a line other than BCC.

Mailchimp basically is a spam company, except its "legitimate spam" because you signed up for a website once and forgot to opt out of spam letters. I could block every single email from mailchimp and I doubt I would miss anything that wasn't spam.

Mailchimp is something I would stay from as it is a massive spam marketing company with privacy issues. Not something I want to use to stay in touch with friends and family.

For me, Facebook is still the only way to keep up with my closest friends and family. I live 3k+ miles away from were I grew up, and it's Facebook's asynchronous form of communication that allows me to spend minimal effort to keep abreast of what's going on there.

Another thing that Facebook offers is the ability to get to know who I'm dealing with when I friend a new colleague or someone I just started hanging out with. It's a great way to spark conversation "oh hey, I see you made cocktails last night, I love run rummers!". Or, "I see you liked Datsik, want to go to a concert with me?". That's essentially how I met my wife.

My family does monthly email updates mainly because not everyone is on Facebook. No noise. Just what's new with everyone, once in a while. There's no ads, no posts about what they had for lunch, no reposts about their political opinions, etc.

We don't even use mailing lists. We usually just reply to the last one, and I have a contact group with everyone in the family.

Who is "everyone" in your family? According to ancestry.com that's an absurdly large group.

Me, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and a cousin.

I made a chrome extension that blocks my Facebook news feed but still allows me to use messenger and see notifications. I'd estimate that I use FB ~90% less now. News feed was the biggest distraction — their algorithm is incredibly optimized to suck you into the rabbit hole.

My chrome extension in case anyone is interested: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/marathon/nkhecjgkf...

I did the same just by using a couple of element targets from withing uBlock origin.

Here they are for anyone interested:

www.facebook.com###u_jsonp_3_0 > div www.facebook.com###feed_stream_5a55a64611d#####0189168 > div www.facebook.com###stream_pagelet www.facebook.com###notificationsCountValue

The second one, you will likely have to figure out yourself - it looks like each feed stream has a unique id.

Another good FB plug-in is FBPurity. You can disable all kinds of things including the newsfeed.

I've got a better idea. Write people you actually give a shit about an actual email or ... god forbid a letter or holiday card instead of mass broadcasting what you had for lunch today.

Worked for me!

I once took a picture, and offered to email it to my younger co-worker. (I'm old.) He paused, and said "Email? I don't remember the last time I used email. Why don't you text it to me?"

There are people who just don't use email, and not because they're not tech savvy.

Given that it’s required to sign up for online billing and most online services, I think your younger coworker either doesn’t understand how to set it up on his/her phone or was just straight up lying because the email address was embarrassing or some other reason to hide it.

So you set it up, sign up for whatever, and never use it again except to sign up for something.

I rarely check my personal email because of the volume of spam and other noise I receive, so if a friend tried to contact me that way I probably wouldn't get it. I don't set up email notifications on my phone for that reason.

Yep. I'm 36 and just hung out with a 26 year old.

When I said email is the best way to contact me he said "Wow, going old school".

When I asked him, he said "Whats App" all the way, never uses anything else!

Not sure how best to express this thought but it seems to my geriatric mind that some kind of p2p-ified (server+client in one) variation on NNTP could provide a "social network" with similar qualities to email but (unlike email), is something I pull from rather than gets pushed to me. Discoverability might be an issue though.

Is any of this making any sense?

Well, there's Scuttlebutt: http://scuttlebutt.nz

Previous HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16877603

Ha! I came here to post that one of his problems (Lesson 2) with Facebook used to be my angst with email. Although I had email at an earlier age, most of my friends who moved away did not - and phone calls were too expensive. So we kept touch for a few years via letters until everyone got email.

Initially, the fact that we could email each other instead of writing letters was awesome. But after about 2 years, all I got were 1-2 liners, and no one wrote thoughtful emails any more. And it got much worse once IM became popular.

Recently, a friend who thinks likewise moved to another continent. Although we do occasionally email, we mostly communicate every few months via letters. Hope it remains that way.

> `...I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages.' --- Umberto Eco

I can so relate to this.

It's nice to be in such a privileged position. Unfortunately not an option for most of us.

A secretary certainly sounds expensive. Even if you had a remote Secretary as a Service who prints directly to your home printer as an implicit inbox (which you can't hear printing, because that would be too much like getting a notification), it would still cost too much.

> My email list is broadcast-only but any replies go directly to me.

If I were to do this, I actually think it would be cool if those in the mailing list could choose whether they want to reply to the whole list or to just me (as easy as removing the list from the CC line). That way, there can be a semi-public discourse with your friends, if you still want something like the "comment thread" from facebook.

Have you ever worked at a company with reply-all spam?

You can accomplish with something like TinyLetter (https://tinyletter.com/) or Revue (https://www.getrevue.co). Not sure why he went the slightly more difficult route of using a service like MailChimp. (which also happens to own TinyLetter)

I send an email every few days to a small handful of friends and family. They're all on Facebook, I'm not. I put them all in the To: list. Some of them reply all, some only to me. It's all good. No software was written, no permission was asked.

This doesn't replace Facebook. It doesn't have to. Facebook is nuclear overkill for this little part of my life.

Being in the same situation as the author (deleted FB account few months ago), I was just thinking how it would be nice to have a mailing list with friends&family in it but didn't know where to start, when this article hit top 30.

I would appreciate if someone would list few Mailchimp's pros and cons and/or maybe few alternatives, from privacy/freedom perspective.

Here's their privacy policy: https://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy/

Their service is good, but as far as I can see, they're willing to sell just about everybody's data to just about anybody.

Mailchimp is a marketing company, their main product is sending massive spam and they have serious privacy concerns (collecting data and doing what they want with it).

Definitely not something to use for friends and family.

I run a forum for my family. Don't have to worry about shit. People can use it as much as they want. Invite their friends, etc.

Many of the downsides to this from the comments I've seen so far seem to be fixable with a new UI/UX for email clients.

Like if thunderbird had a "my lists" view - which put extended family in one area, close friends in another, work associates in another.. and the viewing of messages inlined pics nicely and did an infinite scroll kind of thing, basically creating a timeline/feed...

If someone could get ssl and pgp or similar in the mix, this could stick. Just maybe.

Actually I am sure there are lots of family groups that have things to send to each other that they don't want thousands of other people to access, and friends groups as well - so this could be federated snapchat kind of fb replacement with some UI tweaks, an app and a web portal.

NOw I wonder if email, can be secured and connected to mastadon, riot.im and similar to expand the options for viewing, as well as replying.

I make photo-albums in plain HTML, use basic HTTP authentication, then send out the links via e-mail.

He has an interesting idea in using a free MailChimp account. I would have thought of just having a local email list but it seems very ‘tidy’ to use MailChimp instead. I have set up MailChimp for a customer but never used it for myself.

I just put on my TODO list to start 2 lists: one for family and friends and one for interesting tech.

I will never totally leave FB because I use it to pimp my books and open source projects, but I think spending more that 10 minutes a week engaging with FB is a waste of time. Opportunity Cost.

My family (parents, sister, some cousins) "replaced" Facebook with iCloud. Shared photo albums with comments and iMessage covers pretty much everything.

This bears some same issue facebook has:

1: Some of the people who matters may not have an apple device/account now or may not have one in the future

4: With Apple services, you're not free to switch platforms and your data is not on your own computer

I’ve been banging this drum for a while, but to me it’s clear as day: the company that cracks this and makes the process described within easier and monetizable will be the next unicorn.

People are starving for ownership of a one-to-many communication address (which email is designed for, but has not been well executed by email clients since email has been seen first as business/office tech).

Lesson 2: Email is more intimate and leads to better conversations.

Lesson 3: You control the narrative completely in email which provides a much better opportunity for story-telling.

Facebook Messenger?

Facebook isn't just a place to post publicly on your wall. Arguably the reason why Facebook messenger exists on the platform is provide intimacy.

Anything that exists on facebook is there to profit facebook not the user.

if facebook messenger exists, it is not to provide intimacy but for some reasons aligned with facebook interests such as getting the people online on facebook longer to peek further in their life and social links to feed the investor storytime narrative that facebook will collect more data to eventually be able to target people efficiently enough at some point in the future so that investor will make a big ROI.

Then again email vs instant messaging is an old debate and email does provide much better conversation and intimacy due to its asynchronous nature.

That's not what I or the user was referring to.

The user and I are referring to the difference in posting and discussing as a public post rather than talking through Messenger or email which is a more intimate service because its not broadcast publicly.

Not the information and data privacy behind what Facebook might do or not do with that information behind the scenes.

why would you even share photos through horrible Facebook compression? i shared them with my family through Google photos before abandoning Google services, later sharing through WhatsApp (yes i know, horrible compression) and going to finally move to Signal since they started now to support sharing of photos/videos (though only in beta), until now you could share only one photo or video making it useless

also the people i wanted to stay in touch are anyway on WhatsApp, signal or at worst can email them, so i don't see any added value in Facebook

I could care less about Facebook, but it’s the only way (easy way) for me to stay in touch with old squad mates, and international friends.

You could? How much less could you care about Facebook?

My wife's family keep a group message chat going indefinitely; it seems to work for them.

That only works if everyone in the group likes each other well enough, and the boundary of the group is agreed by consensus -- not most families :-)


In case anybody's wondering, Google Translate says:

The fragmented reading brought by social media has really affected our lives. I am now consciously avoiding the instant social platform, and important things will be solved by mail.

I thought this was going to be a tech blog on how he hooked up his email address to Messenger

I would use Google groups for this instead of a true newsletter product, but I totally agree with this approach. It's similar thinking to the philosophy behind ctolunches.com.

An earlier thread had me think about productizing this actually: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18585534

My thought:

For a social network, I see it being a cross between a Google Group and a newsletter. * List my profile somewhere with a sign up box to "subscribe to updates and conversation from Miles and his network." * Every 3-6 weeks, I receive an email from the platform asking me what's been up with me, and I simply reply, which then gets sent to people who subscribed from updates from me. * Calendar integration -- when I add an event to my calendar, I have the option of including it in my next update to my email network to let them know I'm doing it. (ex: I'm speaking next month at some conference) * Community participation -- if anyone who subscribes to my email updates/network wants to email my network (ex: do you know anyone who...), I get an email saying my subscriber Bob wants to ask my network a connection, would you like to include it in your next email update to your network? If I respond yes, then it is also listed in my next email update to my network. Something like that would be awesome.

We built some of this functionality for FWD:Everyone, but haven't yet gotten it to a point where it's polished enough to release. One of the issues we ran into is that Gmail translates unicode characters into images, which are then difficult to resize to get them to properly match the surrounding typography.

We also didn't build this as a fully automated service, but rather as something that generates MJML that you then have to compile and embed within an HTML email. But it does let you embed all the replies to an email in a new outgoing email, which you can conceptually see here in this marketing email we sent out:


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