Alertivative social media outlets
March 26, 2018 8:40 PM   Subscribe

I have felt the need to switch to another platform for: keeping up with others socially (events, birthdays, general status updates), posting pictures & interests, writing / journaling. Outside of the news of late, I felt a sense that Facebook was just becoming not only a suction of time and maintenance, but now even worse some shady bias practices. I made a statement in a post as such, and many friends said they'd be willing to follow to another platform if I found such. Does anyone have any recommendations (I'm thinking like old-school LiveJournal, or Tumblr, or something of the likes) that can be a safe, enjoyable, social space either for a small group of people or potentially a wider audience? Interested to hear what's out there.
posted by hillabeans to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've been curious about Mastadon and have been toying with the idea of setting up an instance to see if I could lure any friends away from Facebook. Haven't done that yet, so nothing really to report, but maybe someone else here would have more to say:
posted by missmobtown at 8:47 PM on March 26, 2018

I've had this conversation a lot with people lately and there's no one platform that does all of it, especially the events/birthdays part. Tumblr would get you the status updates, pics and writing - you'd have to have one blog and many authors so I guess you'd have to trust the others not to accidentally delete stuff (or maliciously, if there's an argument). Otherwise you can't restrict your tumblr to just a small group. Well, you can, with a password protected blog, but then you'd have to remember all your friends' passwords in order to see their blogs, which I'm guessing is going to be a nonstarter.

Events/birthdays, you could have a shared Google calendar. I don't know what Google+ is like these days - IIRC there was no way to organize events - but that would also take care of the posts/pics/writing part.
posted by AFABulous at 9:09 PM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Mastodon is just twitter with a longer character limit and slightly finer grained privacy settings, it won't come close to what you want.
posted by AFABulous at 9:09 PM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you have an actual group of people, something like a Slack or a Discord can be fun; I'm in a few separate Slacks with groups of people I met on Twitter, and it has drastically reduced the time I spend on the broader public social internet. But that doesn't really help you in a situation where you have a few friends from a bunch of different places (work, college, high school, etc.) with a little overlap.
posted by Polycarp at 9:17 PM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Google+? Hard to say trust Google but not Facebook, but it is a change from FB
posted by AugustWest at 9:29 PM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you really want old-school like LJ, there's Dreamwidth, which uses a fork of the LJ code, but without the Russian ownership. It's also not free, which means there are no ads and Denise won't sell your data. The community is small, which is a plus as far as I'm concerned, but it's not necessarily a walled garden: people can read and comment from outside.
posted by suelac at 10:04 PM on March 26, 2018 [6 favorites]

Discord seems to be the place for fandom and fandom-adjacent niches these days and I feel like it's slowly but surely bleeding into meatspace functionality as well. I'm just about in the same place as you in terms of wanting to get off of facebook and my cohort being willing to go somewhere else if that place were to exist. We use google calendar to do set dates but it has no good place to have discussion about events before they're pinned down in a way that lets people chime in. I tried to get a slack server going but my friends didn't jive with it, I guess, but I think it has the same potential as discord. It takes a lot more setup than fb though and ongoing maintenance.
posted by Mizu at 12:04 AM on March 27, 2018

I use Dreamwidth and while there are no ads, it is free. I like it a lot. You have very good control over the privacy level of your posts. People can read and comment from the outside if you want them to.
It also has image hosting, so people can post pictures; this is a work in progress.
There is a notification option for birthdays. But not for events.
All in all it's more bloggy/journally than Facebook, and it's no drop-in replacement, but it can certainly do a lot of what you're looking for and I suggest that you check it out.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:07 AM on March 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by stevedawg at 1:42 AM on March 27, 2018

the peach app has become this for me; it’s like if twitter and livejournal had a cute but overlooked little sibling. it never took off but there’s a small but loyal group of people actively using it. I have around 30 mutuals on there; we share updates on our lives, gifs, fun stuff, intimate stuff, everybody tags you and says nice things on your birthday. it’s very nice, feels like early twitter or lj when you could still get to know people.

downsides: very much an app;
there’s a basic web version but it’s ugly and annoying to use. posts disappear after a while so you can’t keep up long comment threads. the developers have claimed they’ll keep it going but they’re no longer doing updates.
posted by adastra at 1:44 AM on March 27, 2018

Yeah, DW is free. There are paid options which come with benefits like "more icons" or "can make polls" IIRC.

As far as Discord -- it's pretty easy to just set up a server and invite all your friends, and they can be in other servers at the same time if they want, so I don't see how "being from different social circles" is an obstacle at all. Maybe Slack is different?
posted by inconstant at 6:29 AM on March 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

In the run-it-yourself category, Nextcloud has calendar, jabber, galleries, and video-chat components. It's lacking a threaded discussion system but there is discourse. Here's a list of selfhosted software and I've heard reasonably good things about HumHub and Mattermost.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 1:46 PM on March 27, 2018

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