Wndering why there isn’t a simple FB alternative that utilizes existing email accounts?
Waiting for Diaspora forever and wondering why there isn’t a simple FB alternative that utilizes existing email accounts? So a decentralized social network based on email alone. We could start by adding an extra folder for Public messages (Posts)…
Let me just say first, I realize there are lots of limitations here. I’m making this case to illustrate that FB isn’t much better than email, and is sorely lacking for forum use. Especially when you consider that FB doesn’t even have a comprehensive message search facility.
Private messages would be exactly the same as regular email. These type of messages get copied to private email accounts today anyway if FB notifications are turned on. So little change there! Public Messages or FB Posts would be email messages that are copied to everyone in a user’s contact list that has not been explicitly excluded by the user. On the receiving side, public messages would be filtered into a Public message folder i.e. organized under a ‘Public’ label in Gmail for instance. This filtering could be implemented using crude rules, such as prefixing the subject line or message body with a reserved Tag etc. The filtering could also be implemented using rules based on the number or type of recipients in the message header etc. Immediate limitations :-
#1. How do you delete posts (Public Messages)?
Not easily. The client or email hosting provider would need to recognise this as a special request and filter previously public messages thus deleting them permanently!
#2. What about Likes?
Likes usually have follow-up comments too, so is this feature that important? Especially when we know the Like system is riddled with fraud. How many people sell LIKED pages to 3rd parties for profit etc?! That said, the client or email hosting provider could send status emails to everyone in the contact list indicating a message had been read or include an actual like / hate button.
#3. What about comments?
These get treated as normal public messages but are sorted by subject in the Public folder so they act just like replied-to messages!
#4. What about forums / discussion pages?
This is one of my pet hates about FB. I’m forced to use these ‘documents’ as part of a course I’m doing. Using these Blog like layouts for discussions is horrendous versus conventional forums. Why? Because FB has no good search or filter options. So the order of the posts change depending on the most recently updated entry, and not the most important topic. If everyone on a course posts mundane one-liners, the page gets saturated with noise, and it becomes impossible to sort the gems from the bloat!
#5. With FB you can add/delete friends, change email provider, change privacy?
True, but that’s hardly sound logic for being used as a product. Different levels of privacy could be implemented by having multiple contact lists or groups. Contacts could then be edited and exported/imported to new platforms. Revised account / friend details could also be emailed to everyone in a particular list announcing any changes. Users would have to act on this though, so it would be unreliable without help from email providers!
#6. What about apps and gaming?
Tricky. I don’t care what my friends are looking at, what they are playing or what their score is. If its that important they’ll send follow-up messages anyway. But this is big business or at least it was for Mark Pincus whose fortunes are now evaporating. Personally, I found Zynga poker with its UI from 10 years ago rather tripe. Maybe I was expecting 3D PKR Poker avatars. In any event all these games can always be played outside FB, and still enjoyed with friends and family regardless.
#7. How could you get people to change over?
Not easy, but going back to the days of Altavista+Excite+AskJeeves versus Google. The cool people in the room switched to Google first. Then the sheep inquired: What’s that? Then they made the switch too, even at a time when Google really wasn’t that special. Of course serious trend setters would be needed to get a billion people off FB. But it could be done. Celebs and Film stars with a monetary interest in a GREENER alternative could sway the balance here I think.