Believe it or not, there are plenty of social networks and messaging apps that you can use instead of Facebook. For years these networks and apps have been living in the shadows of the mighty beast that is Facebook. But now is the time to explore a better way of interacting with friends and family without the fear of your data being stolen and stored on huge servers in far flung places.
Here’s what Mastodon is: an open-source, community-run microblogging website. It lets you post “toots,” and you can “boost” other users’ posts. It’s mostly like Twitter, but instead of living in one place, the social network lives in different chunks, called “instances,” each with its own rules and administrators. That’s what makes up a “federation,” and it protects the integrity of the service—there is no single, central server. So, if one instance stops paying for their internet or forgets to re-up their URL, the rest are unharmed in their semi-permeable silos.
We’ve talked about how great VSCO is before, but it deserves another mention here. VSCO is a community of creatives from all over the globe coming together to connect and share their work. Aimed at people with a keen interest in photography, this platform attracts photographers working at a high level, so the work you’ll see here is of a great quality and is bursting with innovation.
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I’ve reviewed VSCO before, and I personally think it’s a great platform. VSCO is about sharing creativity, and it’s not about collecting likes, hearts, or comments. You can favorite and republish photos you like, but the main goal is to share your photos with like-minded creators, and find inspiration in the community. VSCO is a camera, editor, and platform in one. | VSCO – Free
There’s no end-to-end encryption on either platform’s private messaging at the moment, and to be fair there isn’t for Twitter or Facebook either (though Facebook is rumored to be looking into it for their Messenger). Both Mastodon and Diaspora are built on the idea that the conversations happening are meant to be public, so the privacy emphasis is on keeping user data in user ownership and out of advertiser’s hands, not keeping conversations out of the public eye.
What about Ello or Diaspora? I have been getting kicked completely out of Facebook and I have had to delete my app several times. And I know that I have let my friends on Facebook know that I was looking for something outside of Facebook. My Aunt as well as a few others are looking too. But I told them as soon as I find something I would let them know. I don’t think I should be discriminated against for being conservative and this to is happening on Facebook as well.
Instagram, owned by Facebook has grown over the past few years by leaps and bounds. It’s an all round social network, as it lets you upload photos, short videos and even exchange texts with others. The great thing is you can set Instagram to post your updates on your Facebook, Twitter and other profiles as well. Thanks to Instagram’s popularity, there has been a rise in various similar apps, which you can check out.
There are over 20 different filters and borders to choose from, and you can opt to geo-tag your photos with the location where they were taken. Hipster also has a social network behind the scenes here too, and even if we don't think it's terribly useful, it's full of gorgeous photos and really intimate views of the lives of the people who use the app. Plus, it's essential for any good Instagram alternative. If you opt to join, or connect with people who are also using the app, you can look at a map of where other users near you are located and sharing their photos. Oh, and yes—this app is available for iOS and Android as well.
This idea is antithetical to current consumer marketing ethos, which strives to reach targeted audiences at scale. If you want targeting at scale, you go to Facebook or Google. Either can give you practically everyone in America who fits your target. To be fair, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest can all serve up pretty big targeted audiences.
For those determined to exit the Facebook ecosystem, the best approach is more likely to be a patchwork of sites and apps that mirror individual features. Messaging is the easiest: apps such as Telegram and Signal offer messaging and group chats, as well as voice calls, with encryption to keep your communications private. Telegram even has a thriving collection of chatbots, similar to Facebook Messenger.
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Lots of services can feed you the latest news. Facebook, though, displays the specific stories your friends and family are talking about. If you value that feature, Nuzzel is a great choice. You can sync the app to other social networks you might use, like Twitter and LinkedIn, and it will feed you the articles your friends, as well as friends of friends, are talking about. The app also has a "Best of Nuzzel" feature where you can see the stories being widely discussed across the whole platform.
It’s incredibly hard, and involves a good deal of luck, but if something is going to be a real Twitter successor/alternative, it needs to first and foremost find a way to get a critical mass of people using it. That can be a critical mass of a Twitter sub-culture, but it needs to be some group that moves in mass. App.Net get “Tech Twitter” to move, but it failed to get more than that (or to make them actually leave Twitter), but I don’t see that happening with Micro.Blog or Mastodon yet. I don’t know how you do that, but I think that’s how you get the momentum.
App.Net was, I think, the closest we’ve come to a good Twitter alternative, and it came out back in 2012. It did basically everything Twitter did, but nicer. It had a decent web experience and a great selection of third party apps up and running within weeks of launch. And while it was a paid service (and maybe therefore doomed from the start), tons of people in the tech community went there and were having lively discussions. My App.Net feed was a joy to browse, and most of my Twitter friends were there. Oh yeah, and it was an app platform that let some devs build off their back end in interesting ways.
You don't get any of this on Mastodon. The flagship instance (which, at the moment, has again closed itself off to new users) is moderated with stricter rules than Twitter, banning users for stuff like Holocaust denial and posting Nazi imagery. If you have friends on another instance, or want to exist a little out of the mainstream, there's a handy finder that can help you locate your new microblogging home. Niches built around Star Trek and anime already exist, so no matter if the main site is still open to new users, you can still exist in the "fediverse."
There is nothing that can match Facebook right now although some people might argue Twitter is better but it’s not really an alternative and it’s certainly not aimed at people who want to be in touch with friends and families. Well, now that we have established the fact that there are no Facebook alternatives, let’s cut to the chase that we do have several other social networks that aim at specific users. For instance, there are networks aimed at photographers, designers, startups, investors etc.. Well, if you have been looking for a Facebook alternative for a specific need, we are listing down the best Facebook alternatives according to different types and categories.
There’s a bit of a barrier to entry, but it’s not that tough. If you need help signing up, there’s a great beginner’s guide here. Madeline Stone, who oversees public relations for Steemit, shared some advice on getting started on Steemit with Heavy.com. She advised: “As far as helping people who are joining Steemit for the first time, posting in the introduceyourself tag is a great way to get started — other Steemians will then comment on your post and provide resources for newbies. People can also look for help by posting questions in the #help channel at https://steem.chat/home.”
@Zeb: Hi! Please consider putting this back on the roadmap. Our team members don’t want 2 apps going. When you do an universal search, you want it to search both tasks and chats in one platform, not check two. Also, you want to be able to create tasks on the fly while you’re chatting. Sometimes your previous chat message should actually be converted into a task which should be done in a click. There are so many messages that fly between a team that don’t “fit” into a task. Team chats are really essential to us and we would love to move from Flow but it doesn’t make sense logistically to go from one app to two because we want to simplify not complicate the process. Chat and tasks really should be linked.