Social Media: Is there a social network for me?

Stratechery’s Social/Communications Map of 2023:

Threads 6 png

I sit squarely in top left and have for over a decade. Joining Facebook in 2005 and Twitter in 2007, I had stopped using those networks completely by 2012. I found that my life outside of Facebook and Twitter wasn’t as rich and fulfilling as it should be and I was wasting too much time thinking about my personal brand instead of living my life. 

Since 2012, I have joined Mastodon (a self-hosted instance) but it’s not my first Micro-Blog. I have self-hosted a few micro blogging engines since then like Koken and very simplified WordPress installs. Mastodon is great because for $5 a month, people can follow my blog but I also have access to a mobile application which is something I never had with those other engines that was designed around short test posts. 

Blogs are always going to be near and dear to my heart and all of my social networking takes place on forums, yes self-hosted forums about different topics like cars, trucks, motorcycles, computers, photography and more. I’m active in 5 forums and lurk in about 15. Forums are great. I am myself “AdamChandler” and don’t hide behind an alias and what it does for me mentally is to put myself into the mode where I want to talk about Volkswagen turbocharged engines and I can spend some time reading and interacting with others on that topic. I don’t go to any off-topic forums, I sort of budget my time for an hour a day of social interactions virtually on specific subjects.

I use messaging (via Google Voice) and have roughly 5-6 people I engage with once a month. Yes, that’s it. My wife and I talk daily, Ben and I speak weekly and my parents once a month. I have Chris and Matt who I speak with maybe monthly but not always.

Reddit I treat like a forum. I don’t browse /all, /popular or /home. I go to specific subreddits about Coffee, Volkswagen, New Hampshire, Charlotte, Apple, Programming, Journalism, Wine and others and I spend a fixed amount of time reading and replying to folks. 

Note, I don’t subscribe to any email newsletters. Email to me is a special and heavily curated place where I unsubscribe to everything that is an auto-mailer, filter out images and HTML and when I get an email, it’s a push notification to my watch and I usually read and reply to it instantly even when I was getting hundreds of emails a day for work, I treat email as a top priority. To bring ‘newsletters’ into my safe zone would destroy my attentiveness I give emails. I take days to respond to a Google Voice text message but emails are instant. I know Feedbin (which is what I’m using for RSS hosting) supports newsletters but now it’s just a matter of principle. Just start a blog. Seriously. I know why people publish newsletters but they should cross-post to a blog. 

Stepping back, I am squarely in the top left quadrant. I do have a Mastodon account but it’s still for me a micro-blog, not a social network. I also have an instagram account for motorcycle pictures but I don’t follow anyone and don’t have the app installed. I use a social media tool for scheduling photo posts. 

So despite being “anti-social” in almost every way, I still want a social network. Honestly, Meta’s Threads could be it but the reason it’s not is they inject posts from people you don’t follow and they serve up advertisements. The reason I use RSS and non-HTML emails is because I don’t want to see ads. I don’t see them…ever. I pay for Reddit Premium so I don’t see ads. Not giving me the option to remove ads means I’ll never use your service. 

So is there a network out there that includes people interesting sharing their honest selves using their real first and last names through some verification tool like uploading a photo of their ID with zero “mean people / trolls” that is a pay-for service without advertisements that includes the ability for me to share photos, videos, posts (long and short) and has functionality like RSS, uses web standards and has an API so app developers can build tools and environments on top including (like reddit and forums), special interest groups where folks of similar interests get together to talk about model trains or 3D printing? 

I don’t think there is. Meta and Twitter for sure won’t build it. Mastodon is purely Micro Blogging. 

I’m not unhappy with my social network usage, nor do I have more time for another but I really would like a service that has everything above but it just doesn’t exist and it certainly won’t have over a billion people using it. 

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