Home Business Today's Bizarre Business Idea - The Meta Social Network

Today’s Bizarre Business Idea – The Meta Social Network

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Twitter and Facebook – et al – won’t allow certain people onto their networks. Hmm, well, whatever we think of that the reaction is pretty swift in coming. After all, there were 70 million plus who did vote for the man and they too want to share cat pictures.

The problem being that the reaction is fragmented and the aim of the game here is networks – which work best when they’re not fragmented. One answer is simply to wait, network effects will lead to someone dominating the new landscape just as they did before. Another is to try to make money out of what is happening:

Following the banning of Donald Trump and many prominent followers on mainstream social media platforms, and Amazon’s withdrawal of web hosting from Parler, rightwingers have fled to an archipelago of smaller “alt tech” sites and services that promise less content moderation or a refuge from the prying eyes of their political opponents and law enforcement.

On Tuesday, on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store, apps, services, and social networking platforms that either directly pitch themselves to Trumpists as a free speech alternative, or which allow them to enjoy encrypted communications, were dominating the list of the most downloaded apps.

Some of these were platforms that – like the temporarily disappeared Parler – seek to reproduce some of the features of big tech platforms, but with far fewer restrictions on what users can post.

Do you recall back when search engines were wildly competitive as a market? There were meta search engines that allowed you to interrogate several of them at the same time. Equally, with Twitter, there are such things as TweetDeck. Management tools etc.

So, we now face a world with widely fragmented social networks. What would be a useful idea is a central management tool of that diaspora. A meta-social network that is.

Tuesday afternoon offer enough time to get that done then?

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7 COMMENTS

  1. The problem here is that Facebook, Twitter and so on engineer their systems to make it hard to abstract them through an aggregation layer, or this would already have been done. To surrender their front-to-back ownership would allow third parties to control the advertising and so on in the aggregator, as well as to access their userbase. Any aggregator would probably break T&Cs and the service would simply start an arms war to change the interface so the aggregator would keep failing. Even where these are solved, Apple and Google can simply reject apps from their stores so only a web interface with limited functionality would be available.

    Ultimately, this is something that will have to be fixed, as a few global operators obstructing their users to maintain their power is not in our best interests, and having to interact with several different media (e-mail, messaging apps, social media) with different audiences in each is phenomenally inefficient. This is one area where a bit of a regulatory nudge might turn these companies back into competing for users through improved quality and features rather than through user reach – not entirely unlike the traditional media has always had to. But this needs proper competition first, not co-existing platforms.

    However, given there is so little compatibility between even mail and calendars (Google, Outlook, Apple,…) I have little hope that interoperability of social networks and other media will happen any time soon. Just look at how we still use e-mail as our standard communication mechanism, over 20 years since far better alternatives were available. Don’t get me started on the mess that is user accounts, logins and identity management!

    • I agree with you about the strength and depth of integration argument, but search proxies and anonymizers such as “Duck Duck Go”, “Start Page”, etc. do work pretty well in terms of speed and performance while providing sufficient abstraction for privacy and anonymity. I switched from using Google Chrome to using Brave (and later Safari) for reasons of privacy and likewise stopped using Google services across the board. I don’t feel any particular lack in doing so.

  2. services that promise less content moderation or a refuge from the prying eyes of their political opponents and law enforcement.

    Or perhaps services which provide an outlet to express perfectly legal opinions, most of which which were uncontroversial five years ago.

  3. Yeah. I don’t understand why Parler, Gab et al didn’t simply demand that every user uses their existing Twitter handle (with a separate type of username format for people not on Twitter). They could have achieved this authentication by asking a new user to register with their Twitter handle and then to submit to Parler or Gab a Tweet that they would send from their Twitter account in the next hour. The app could then offer the option of posting to multiple social media accounts simultaneously.

  4. The thing that we’re going to see some shift towards is open social networking like Mastodon, which isn’t a site but protocols and software. Think like email. No central command and control to it. It’s designed to be open, and if you close it off to other instances, you make it fairly useless to use as it’s too small.

    And it’s trivially easy to get a stream of statuses from a server. Not really that hard to then load that into a database. You then need searching and selecting tools and clever filtering, but the open protocols were the big problem.

    The more I think about this, the more I think FB and Twitter have really buggered their businesses. I’ve observed the potential issue with these organisations and app stores for years. The Trump thing has blown it wide open. Lots more people get it now. And when a few people leave for Gab (which is a Mastodon compliant site), that becomes stronger and Twitter weakens. Get past a certain level of people on Mastodon and Twitter is toast.

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