Summary: It's pretty clear now that building your own social media platform isn't as straightforward as it sounds.
So here we are.
2021 was supposed to be the year when everything improved and we looked back at 2020 as a shit stain on history.
Turns out 2020 wasn’t that bad.
Trump’s out, the bad guys won, violence has begun as I predicted, and as of yesterday, the President of the United States has been unpersoned from every major Silicon Valley company.
The following platforms have ruled that Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States, is a non-person:
This list continues to grow.
But it gets much worse.
The largest, free speech (conservative) competitor to Twitter, the Parler app, which was the immediate plan B for the President and millions of people, was just terminated from Apple and Google citing “concerns” so nobody can download the app, and as a final kick in the teeth, Amazon’s AWS gave Parler short notice that they’re terminating their hosting.
No app store. No hosting.
They did the same thing to Gab two years ago.
They’re private companies and can do what they want. Just build your own!
It’s pretty clear now that building your own platform isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
Everything is interconnected and services rely on each other to function.
Any of us could have a Twitter clone up that looks and functions like Twitter in less than a day.
But here’s where we start running into the real problems:
Where do you put it? (many major hosting companies won’t allow you)
How do you process payments? (PayPal, Stripe, etc. will ban you with short notice and hold your earnings)
How do you advertise? (Google and Facebook ads won’t have you which is where most of the eyes are to see your ads)
How do you allow people to search for and download/access the site or app? (Google Play and Apple Store are the two main app stores for most phones, and they’ll ban you)
Which browser or OS does it run on (unimpeded)? (browser extensions will be banned and major browsers like Chrome and Firefox can display warnings for your site or block you if they wish)
How do you email users/customers? (CRM’s like MailChimp will ban you and make it difficult to capture emails or broadcast to your email subscribers)
…and that’s just part of it.
To function in today’s digital economy and compete against Silicon Valley companies, you need: domain names, scalable hosting, CDN, authentication, payment processors, banks, online ad networks to gain reach, CRM (email), app store or safe mechanism to download, a browser that doesn’t block you, and more.
When you tow the party line and say what’s allowed, this is all easy.
You can use their infrastructure and the services work together for you so you can operate within their economy.
If you step out of line and get excluded from even a few of these crucial services or infrastructure, you’re effectively shut out of the online economy and unable to operate.
If you want to buy and sell in their economy, bow down.
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
- Rev 13:16-17
Silicon Valley tech giants (and thousands of smaller subsidiaries) are a cabal.
Notice how whenever there’s a high profile banning or purge on a platform, all the other platforms seem to coincidentally have a purge on the same day or week?
In other words, when Twitter goes on a purge spree to get rid of conservatives, Facebook and YouTube are doing it too.
They’re friends. They’re in sync.
They have a direct line to each other and they coordinate on these purges.
Some of these high profile unpersonings go much further and end up getting banned from CRM’s, payment processors, servers and even banks.
Imagine being booted off Facebook and then shortly after receiving an email from PayPal saying “We’re terminating your account and holding your earnings.” This has happened. This is a real thing.
Or your bank terminates your bank accounts because you’re on a “hate” list somewhere.
This is the time we’re now in.
The solution is not to create yet another Twitter or Facebook clone.
This is a waste of time and resources.
As I said, these alternatives are easy to produce and already exist in different forms.
What needs to happen: the construction of a parallel tech economy (or economies).
That means alternative servers and data centers, alternative payment processors (working with banks that aren’t going to pull the plug), alternative domain registrars, CRM’s and so on.
Each service should have an identifier on their website (like a badge) that indicates that they’re part of the free economy.
And they need to support each other the way Big Tech does.
Right now there are two main contenders for Twitter/FB alternatives - Gab and Parler.
For some reason that I don’t understand, they’re not working together or in support of each other. They’re competing against each other for dissident traffic fleeing FB and Twitter.
This is stupid.
Why not combine your resources and work together rather than try and operate isolated?
Just like Twitter and Facebook.
This means that all your content is held on their servers and is under their control (they can do what they want with it).
It can be purged.
If Gab or Parler turn into anti-free speech companies in the future (whether by their own choice or government dictum), they can control your info the same way.
What about Minds.com?
Another alternative that has never gained enough traction in my opinion is Minds.com. It’s kind of like Twitter but is on the blockchain which means its decentralized. It’s totally open source.
This means that no central server holds information - it’s out there on the blockchain.
I’d like to know why Minds.com hasn’t exploded in popularity.
Side note: The UI/UX of Minds.com is exceptional - outstanding in fact. Unlike Parler, it feels like it’s been professionally designed.
Another blockchain beauty is LBRY (which is a video platform protocol).
In my personal opinion, blockchain is where the future is.
It’s where dissidents should operate.
Blockchain is the most promising way to cripple companies like Twitter and Facebook, which have turned into centralized surveillance platforms.
Am I saying that Gab and Parler are bad?
Not at all.
They’re the best thing we have right now to congregate freely online.
But I don’t think these companies are forward-thinking enough at the moment. All they seem to be doing is trying to create clones of existing platforms that are centralized and prone to the same abuses later on.
I think the next big thing will be a decentralized search engine to take information control away from Google (a few projects like Presearch are experimenting with this).
I keep hearing this.
“It’s just going to be an echo chamber of right-wingers.”
Here’s my response to this: so what?
When you go and sit in a bar, you don’t sit down at the table next to screaming blue-haired feminists who hate you and drink your beer while getting shouted at.
You sit at a table with your friends.
I don’t want to associate with liberals. As I said here, we’re not friends and we need to stop pretending that we are (or that it’s possible to be).
I don’t associate with these people in real life, so why do I need to do it online?
Our lives in the real world are “echo chambers” - we freely associate with our own family, friends and people we care about.
So screw the echo chamber analogy. Twitter is absolutely vile - the most degenerate, disgusting, filthy people congregate on there and tweet their horrid opinions at each other.
I choose to associate with better people.
I think one of the crucial steps needed by alt-tech social media platforms is to make them appealing to non-political users.
The biggest problem with Parler and Gab is that they are almost exclusively used for political discussion.
Apart from POTUS, Twitter attracted me to their platform because of all the tech people on there keeping me up to date with what’s happening in web development.
I can tune out the politics and see relevant content.
If these alt-tech platforms want to get wider adoption and be palatable for normies, then they need to foster non-political discussion.
This is where UI/UX designers are crucial.
Design a platform that people enjoy logging into. Ever seen Twitch? It’s quite basic in what it does but the design is simply gorgeous (attention has been given to every minor design detail). I’m not even really interested in the content there but it’s a joy to use.
Makes people want to log in and use it.
One thing that both Gab and Parler are terrible at is finding relevant content - the hashtag searching, trending and discovery functions are frankly primitive.
Unless you know exactly who or what you’re looking for, it’s almost impossible to navigate.
So anyway, alt-tech needs to start thinking about appealing to normies and non-political people.
Otherwise they do just become places to bitch about oppression.
I’m not a publicly controversial figure by any means but it’s important for little people like us to keep the ball rolling by voting with our feet.
I scrubbed my Twitter today.
I’m disgusted with that company and what they allow (banning POTUS was the last straw).
I’ve kept my business accounts open (don’t use them anyway but they’re just there as an extra point of contact).
Like Twitter, I have business accounts on Facebook which will remain open for point of contact (even though I never use it).
I’ve actually decided to print all my photos out and keep them in physical albums. Facebook currently controls ALL of my family photos and history stretching back 13+ years. That’s not good.
This week I’ll be backing up and removing photos and content going back to 2007.
I already have accounts set up on all alt-tech platforms which I’ll cross-post to.
But at this stage, I’m thinking that Minds.com might be my primary (I really want to get more people interested in blockchain).
I’m trying to decide how best to keep in contact with friends and family. I might continue to use Telegram for this since it’s a secure, private messaging service (don’t use Signal since Twitter is promoting it which can only mean it’s a bad idea).
I’ll be uploading video to Odysee (LBRY) and cross-posting to Rumble.
Who knows - this could be the time where Big Tech monopoly starts to lose its grip.
There’s a lot of money on our side - money that could be used to fund some amazing alternative platforms and infrastructure in the coming years.