I've been thinking. For at least the past few months, but probably longer. I think about it every time I travel around the web and see an ad for something I looked up on another platform. I think about it when I buy something online and see ads for it everywhere, or I'm watching a YouTube video and the ad is for the same thing I'm doing online.
I think about all the invasions of privacy by companies we are supposed to be able to trust, and I watch them bash each other over the same things they each are doing. Kind of ironic.
I realize that companies have to make money. I'm not one of those "tech should be free" guys, or everything should be open source. But I've definitely become one of those who hates that fact that the vast majority of "free" platforms online track my every move, and monetize me along the way. I don't see any of the revenue they make from showing me ads. I don't get any value from them. You could argue, probably rightfully, that I've gotten a lot of value from Facebook and you tube and Google over the years. You could also argue that hey, I signed up for it. Of course, trying to read and understand the legalese contained in the EULA or user agreements can be pretty difficult. Most of us just click OK, assuming, not really reading, we just want to sign up.
At the time of signup we aren't concerned with what companies are doing with our stuff. And that's bad. We should care a lot more about this than we do, although I think that the more privacy is in the news, and the more these companies continue to screw up and wind up getting sued, the more people are going to think about these things and wonder if there's another alternative.
I know there's already some alternative tech out there, but more is better, right?
All of this just to say, I started a project with a friend of mine. It's probably going to be a large one, a ton of work. It may not be successful. Hell, It may not get any users at all. I don't really know. But over the last few months I've been planning. Literally. Brainstorming, writing it all down, trying to encapsulate what it is I want out of a social media platform. And also, what I don't want.
There's three things I know for sure that I want from my social platform:
A way to keep up with friends and family. The only reason I use FaceBook at all is keeping up with my family and all their kids, and a few friends that aren't using twitter.
An ad free experience. This is actually more my second number one, because I'm tired of ads and I don't want to see them anymore. I think I'm getting ad burn-out.
Privacy minded. I want my social platform to consider what kind of data it collects and to limit it. And also not sell it, share it, or otherwise give it to another company. Period.
You probably have questions about monetizing a platform like this. I have a few ideas, and I'll go over them in another post.
Meanwhile I need coffee.