Leaving Facebook and Twitter: here are the alternatives

In my post on social media and intersection of politics and technology I wrote about a social networking platform that addresses the ills of the current big providers like Facebook and Twitter in light of the 2016 election interference. I have more thoughts on the topic today.

I am not going to rehash what everyone is already saying about Twitter and Facebook. Let’s talk about the alternatives.

LinkedIn, Stack Overflow and Quora

I use LinkedIn for professional networking. It is a handy tool in that regard, and despite the recruiter spam, I have no problems with it. I use LinkedIn to manage my career well beyond just looking for jobs. It can stay on my phone, and I am going to continue actively using it.

My profile on LinkedIn is here.

Stack Overflow and Quora are knowledge base services that are also social networks. The format focuses on the thoughtful Question-Answer form. It’s important to mention these because both are crucial professional networking tools.

Medium

When Medium first came on the scene, I thought of it as a “long-form Twitter.” Twitter has dumbed down the discourse by limiting posts to 140 and then to 280 characters. One can’t possibly make a reasoned, thoughtful argument in a few sentences.

Medium also has it right with regards to their monetization model. Rather than being a click-bait platform like all the legacy social-media services, Medium is like “Spotify or Amazon Music of writing.” Medium is free to use but paid subscribers to get access to premium content. Writers can join the Medium partner program and get paid.

While I use WordPress to host this blog, I use Medium, and I pay a subscription fee to get access to premium writers— and to post long-form thoughtful responses. In many ways Medium gets it right— they encourage long-form friendly content, and they help thoughtful writing by asking readers to pay for it.

To summarize— if you are fed up with the never-ending spread of written bullshit on Twitter, Medium offers a pleasant refuge from the Twitter word-vomit.

Vero

Vero Social has been going viral in the last few months as the backlash against Facebook continues. Vero does a few things right:

  1. All users must be verified via SMS. That raises the effort and cost to create troll and bot accounts.
  2. Eventually it will be a subscription-based service but for now they are seeding the social network with a core group of users who will have access free for life.
  3. Paid subscription model raises the cost of establishing troll and bot accounts to the point where, hopefully, there just won’t be any on Vero.
  4. Vero is app-only mobile first with no platform API. Hopefully, that won’t change.
  5. Vero can cross-post public posts to Facebook and Twitter because they are well aware that until they overtake them, their users may need to maintain those for a little while.
  6. Regarding format, Vero is kind of like Tumblr with Facebook-like privacy controls.

From what I’ve read the subscription fee is supposed to be low enough to be no more than a latte a month (similar to Medium), but high enough to make those wishing to spread disinformation. That’s a good thing.

I am trying out Vero, and I am excited about the platform. I think it does many things right and I want to support the project.

Final thoughts

The first thing that is going out of the door on my phone is Twitter to be replaced by Vero.

The main Facebook app is getting its notifications disabled but, unfortunately, like Microsoft Windows, it is here to stay for the time being— slowly stagnating as users and advertisers leave.

LinkedIn, StackOverflow, and this blog has always been and will continue to be my means of professional networking. Instagram and Facebook Messenger are going to become my primary method of staying in touch with my Facebook friends for as long as they are still using it.