A very abbreviated Thanksgiving weekend edition of “My Picks.” This week I was intrigued and encouraged by individuals and organizations taking action about what they dislike about the current state of social media. In one case publicly scaling back, and in another, launching an alternative vision.
Ari Herzog’s “Why I Deleted My Foursquare Account” generated a 550 percent one-day spike in his blog traffic.
Earlier this month A year ago he posted an account of his decision to drop half of his Facebook friends.
A ragtag group of young developers radicalized by Facebook’s seeming disregard for end-user privacy and control over their own content launched Diaspora. Funded through Kickstarter by $200,000 in donations from nearly 6,500 backers contributing as little as $5, the quixotic enterprise seeks to — if not upend — at least foster a credible crowdsourced open source alternative to Facebook.
“We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how people can share in a private way, and still do all the things people love to do on social networks. We hope you’ll find it fun to use and a great way to keep in touch with all the people in your life.
“You decide what you’d like to share, and with whom. You retain full ownership of all your information, including friend lists, messages, photos, and profile details.
“Diaspora lets you create ‘aspects,’ which are personal lists that let you group people according to the roles they play in your life. We think that aspects are a simple, straightforward, lightweight way to make it really clear who is receiving your posts and who you are receiving posts from. It isn’t perfect, but the best way to improve is to get it into your hands and listen closely to your response.”
Think it can’t happen? Consider that the open source movement begat Linux, which begat Android. That took a while, but it demonstrates that a community of techno-geeks passionate about an ideal can be formidable competitors.