23 votes

Slow Social, a social network built for friends, not influencers

35 comments

  1. [22]
    papasquat
    Link
    Really neat idea. I think me from 15 years ago would have really loved the idea and been 100% onboard. I've gotten much more cynical about the internet and technology in general the more I've...
    • Exemplary

    Really neat idea. I think me from 15 years ago would have really loved the idea and been 100% onboard. I've gotten much more cynical about the internet and technology in general the more I've dealt with it and lived with it though.

    The most popular sites on the internet are so popular largely because they've been able to hijack flaws with the way the human brain processes information. Rage fuel, clickbait, misleading headlines, popups, suggestion algorithms, hard sell signup campaigns, sexual imagery or just straight up porn are all part of the top 10 sites in the world, and that's not a coincidence. I'm becoming increasingly convinced that on the modern internet, the only way for a website to be successful (success defined as a large user base with regular engagement) is to exploit these flaws in the human mind. We're not rational beings, these companies know this, and they exploit that fact to get clicks and ad views.

    I liked the internet a lot better 15 years ago when sites like the one linked on this post could become popular, but I've come to realized that the internet of 1990-2006 was a transitory phase where the people with large amounts of capital were experimenting and trying to figure out how to exploit this massive potential for reaching absolutely huge amounts of people with virtually no oversight. The internet as it is today is the stable equilibrium where it was always eventually going to head to. I don't have a lot of optimism for the future of the mainstream internet. I think it will largely stay the way it is now, with a blip every now and again where someone figures out how to exploit people's irrational tendencies even more effectively (which has happened a few times during the modern internet, starting with facebook, then youtube and twitter, then instagram, then vine, now tiktok, each site coming up with a new way to exploit people's attention and keep them hooked, and then the predecessors adopting those tactics as well).

    I would absolutely love for a site like this to take off, unfortunately I'm not super optimistic about it, because the network effect is a monopolists wet dream, and without a good vanguard of users that are extremely engaged with a site, usually because of exploitative attention grabbing tactics, a new social media site has very little chance of long term success.

    27 votes
    1. [5]
      mtset
      Link Parent
      I agree with most of this post but what's wrong with consenting adults posting porn on social media? As long as people need to opt in to see it (through search, NSFW filters, etc), it seems fine.

      just straight up porn

      I agree with most of this post but what's wrong with consenting adults posting porn on social media? As long as people need to opt in to see it (through search, NSFW filters, etc), it seems fine.

      9 votes
      1. [3]
        PopeRigby
        Link Parent
        I think they're referring to the way most porn sites seek to grab your attention and get you addicted, similar to YouTube and other social medias. There's nothing wrong with porn, it's the porn...

        I think they're referring to the way most porn sites seek to grab your attention and get you addicted, similar to YouTube and other social medias. There's nothing wrong with porn, it's the porn websites.

        10 votes
        1. [2]
          mtset
          Link Parent
          The other things in the list are all morally pretty problematic: So it seems reasonable to assume porn is indicated in the same category.

          The other things in the list are all morally pretty problematic:

          Rage fuel, clickbait, misleading headlines, popups, suggestion algorithms, hard sell signup campaigns,

          So it seems reasonable to assume porn is indicated in the same category.

          5 votes
          1. skullkid2424
            Link Parent
            The list was not presented as a list of morally problematic things, but rather as things that are able to hijack flaws with the way the human brain processes information. It also wasn't a list of...

            The list was not presented as a list of morally problematic things, but rather as things that are able to hijack flaws with the way the human brain processes information.

            It also wasn't a list of things that show up on social media, but rather a list of things in the top 10 most popular websites. So it is referring to a website like xvideos (NSFW, obviously) - which is likely guilty of several of those "hijacks" (and thats without even diving into some of the videos questionable legality or the abuses that can take place in the adult entertainment industry). Again - its about the porn websites, not porn as a concept.

            7 votes
      2. papasquat
        Link Parent
        I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with it on an individual basis, but its appeal comes from hijacking one of the most base instincts humanity has, and those mechanisms in general have an...

        I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with it on an individual basis, but its appeal comes from hijacking one of the most base instincts humanity has, and those mechanisms in general have an extreme propensity to be used for exploitation. In the specific case of porn, it would be hard to argue that widespread, unfettered proliferation has resulted in anything resembling a net good for the world.

        My feelings on porn in general are kind of complicated and all over the place though, going deep into it would be a big tangent.

        5 votes
    2. [2]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      I think ultimately either the bottom will fall out of the online advertising market or regulators will curtail the sort of bulk data collection that it depends on and we’ll start to see a big...

      I think it will largely stay the way it is now, with a blip every now and again where someone figures out how to exploit people's irrational tendencies even more effectively (which has happened a few times during the modern internet, starting with facebook, then youtube and twitter, then instagram, then vine, now tiktok, each site coming up with a new way to exploit people's attention and keep them hooked, and then the predecessors adopting those tactics as well).

      I think ultimately either the bottom will fall out of the online advertising market or regulators will curtail the sort of bulk data collection that it depends on and we’ll start to see a big shift.

      The downside is the stuff that was free in the “good days” that enabled broad adoption of sites like YouTube simply can’t be free any longer.

      4 votes
      1. hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Maybe the death of surveillance capitalism would spur the nationalization or "inter-nationalization" of some of the current ad-subsidized websites? There was an article about nationalizing Spotify...

        Maybe the death of surveillance capitalism would spur the nationalization or "inter-nationalization" of some of the current ad-subsidized websites?

        There was an article about nationalizing Spotify posted to Tildes last year that I thought was interesting, and I have plenty of opinions about nationalizing Google Maps and why governments should get directly involved in contributing to OpenStreetMap. I think about this sort of stuff more than I would like to admit.

        But with something like YouTube, or even worse, Twitter, I can't help but feel like tying these websites directly to the US federal government would be anything but a disaster. It actually frustrates me how little I trust the idea, because government-subsidized websites, and especially APIs, as a public good are incredibly beneficial.

        4 votes
    3. [11]
      bub
      Link Parent
      I pretty much agree with you. Further, A social network trying to pitch the idea that "we know social media is bad for you, so just do it less and it should be fine" seems a tiny bit like saying...

      I pretty much agree with you.

      Further, A social network trying to pitch the idea that "we know social media is bad for you, so just do it less and it should be fine" seems a tiny bit like saying "you're way too addicted to meth, so let us suggest doing meth once a week instead."

      Someone able to put up with that odd constraint and not relapse should probably just kick the habit entirely.

      Or I could look at it in a positive light, as a support mechanism to wean social media addicts off of it slowly. In which case, yeah, weaning your users off of your service won't keep your business alive very long.

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        mtset
        Link Parent
        Social media isn't nearly as dangerous as meth and I think it's disingenuous to say so. Sugar is bad for you in too high quantities. That doesn't mean eating fruit or the occasional KitKat is like...

        we know social media is bad for you, so just do it less and it should be fine" seems a tiny bit like saying "you're way too addicted to meth, so let us suggest doing meth once a week instead."

        Social media isn't nearly as dangerous as meth and I think it's disingenuous to say so. Sugar is bad for you in too high quantities. That doesn't mean eating fruit or the occasional KitKat is like doing meth once a week.

        13 votes
        1. [4]
          bub
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I'm not sure you're using "disingenuous" how you intend to here. If what I said were disingenuous, that would mean I was being insincere. Calling my statement disingenuous is akin to calling me...

          I'm not sure you're using "disingenuous" how you intend to here. If what I said were disingenuous, that would mean I was being insincere. Calling my statement disingenuous is akin to calling me dishonest, and I don't appreciate that.

          Social media is disastrously addictive by design, and I absolutely stand by my opinion that it is at least as unhealthy an addiction as some chemical addictions are.

          IMO, this is nothing like older generations yelling about TV, video games, books, or some new kind of music being "bad for you" just because they're new and popular. Those media weren't as expertly designed to entrap a person, and didn't feed off of a person's own negativity in such a vicious feedback loop, as social media does. You don't come away from a TV show or a long series of books feeling like you're waking up from a fever or stepping out of a dungeon into the fresh air. Those other media don't make people habitually angry or irritable like social media do.

          Please reconsider your wording when disagreeing with people, especially when it comes to calling an earnest opinion "disingenuous." Perhaps you could have called my comment "hyperbolic" instead?

          4 votes
          1. mtset
            Link Parent
            That's fair, but frankly, I don't feel particularly uncomfortable saying that comparing social media to methamphetamine is pretty dishonest. That's true. However, the word "addictive" here is...

            If what I said were disingenuous, that would mean I was being insincere. Calling my statement disingenuous is akin to calling me dishonest, and I don't appreciate that.

            That's fair, but frankly, I don't feel particularly uncomfortable saying that comparing social media to methamphetamine is pretty dishonest.

            Social media is disastrously addictive by design

            That's true. However, the word "addictive" here is overloaded. The mechanism of action for methamphetamine leads to a chemical dependence [1]; the body actually ceases to function correctly without access to the breakdown products of meth. On the other hand, research on social media addiction talks about totally different mechanisms of addiction; for example, this paper [2] establishing a social media dependence scale explicitly talks about how social media dependence is different from substance dependence!

            I absolutely stand by my opinion that it is at least as unhealthy an addiction as some chemical addictions are.

            Sure, some chemical addictions. I'd argue that my social media habit is worse for my life than my caffeine habit, and I'm very solidly dependent on caffeine. You said meth.

            Those media weren't as expertly designed to entrap a person, and didn't feed off of a person's own negativity in such a vicious feedback loop, as social media does. You don't come away from a TV show or a long series of books feeling like you're waking up from a fever or stepping out of a dungeon into the fresh air. Those other media don't make people habitually angry or irritable like social media do.

            I agree with this completely. On the other hand, social media doesn't make your teeth fall out, cause seizures or heart problems, catastrophically increase your blood pressure, or blow up the people who make it.

            Perhaps you could have called my comment "hyperbolic" instead?

            It was definitely hyperbolic. I also think that it was intentionally sensationalized and not discursively useful. Meth kills users at a pretty high rate, social media does not. Pick another drug.

            1: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11920-006-0035-x, just one example of academics talking about this

            2: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563216302059

            4 votes
          2. [2]
            NoblePath
            Link Parent
            Just to keep horizons wide, i took their meaning as “misleading”, which, even if unintentional by you, is kinda within the broader meaning of disingenuous.

            Just to keep horizons wide, i took their meaning as “misleading”, which, even if unintentional by you, is kinda within the broader meaning of disingenuous.

            3 votes
            1. lou
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              First meaning on Google: Here's Cambridge dictionary online: And Webster: I'm unaware of a relevant meaning for this word which does not entail an accusation of insincerity.

              First meaning on Google:

              dis·in·gen·u·ous
              /ˌdisənˈjenyo͞oəs/
              adjective
              not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

              Here's Cambridge dictionary online:

              (of a person or their behaviour) slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth:

              It was disingenuous of her to claim she had no financial interest in the case.

              And Webster:

              : lacking in candor also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness

              I'm unaware of a relevant meaning for this word which does not entail an accusation of insincerity.

              2 votes
      2. Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        Just a little meth. As a treat.

        A social network trying to pitch the idea that "we know social media is bad for you, so just do it less and it should be fine" seems a tiny bit like saying "you're way too addicted to meth, so let us suggest doing meth once a week instead."

        Just a little meth. As a treat.

        4 votes
      3. [4]
        lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        This might work if you where in possession of all meth in the world, and was also in control of the means to produce meth. Which is obviously impossible. However, it is possible for someone to be...

        you're way too addicted to meth, so let us suggest doing meth once a week instead

        This might work if you where in possession of all meth in the world, and was also in control of the means to produce meth. Which is obviously impossible.

        However, it is possible for someone to be the only distributor of access to a social media website.

        Maybe you never triggered such responses, but Tildes have rate limiting to prevent hostile behavior.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          bub
          Link Parent
          I don't understand what you're saying with this line. Could you clarify?

          Maybe you never triggered such responses, but Tildes have rate limiting to prevent hostile behavior.

          I don't understand what you're saying with this line. Could you clarify?

          1. [2]
            lou
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Sometimes, if you answer too quickly and too often, Tildes will remove your ability to post for a while.

            Sometimes, if you answer too quickly and too often, Tildes will remove your ability to post for a while.

            3 votes
            1. bub
              Link Parent
              Oh ok, I see. That's good to know.

              Oh ok, I see. That's good to know.

    4. [3]
      elcuello
      Link Parent
      This seems to be a general problem with all new things as long as I can remember and I fucking hate it.

      where the people with large amounts of capital were experimenting and trying to figure out how to exploit this massive potential for reaching absolutely huge amounts of people with virtually no oversight.

      This seems to be a general problem with all new things as long as I can remember and I fucking hate it.

      1 vote
      1. papasquat
        Link Parent
        Yeah, when I was an idealistic young nerd, I naively assumed that widespread access to communication would level the playing field and that regular people would have access to reach huge swaths of...

        Yeah, when I was an idealistic young nerd, I naively assumed that widespread access to communication would level the playing field and that regular people would have access to reach huge swaths of the population, and that good ideas and concepts would naturally bubble up to to the top based purely on their intellectual merit. I failed to realize that A. the proliferation of how far those ideas and concepts spread are still largely controlled by huge corporations, and B. Ideas/memes don't spread based on any sort of logical or rational merit. They spread based on how effectively they tap into extreme human emotions like empathy, sadness, fear, or anger.

        It's shaped a lot of my politics honestly. I used to think that given an absence of an oppressive framework of control, human society would just naturally shape itself into something that's rational, peaceful, and sustainable. Looking at the internet as a microcosm of human society at large, I've come to realize that maybe all those tens of thousands of years of sociological theorists, religious leaders, politicians, and philosophers may have known a thing or two that I didn't.

        6 votes
      2. skybrian
        Link Parent
        You don't need large amounts of capital for this. The cost of sending messages has dropped to near-zero, and the sender doesn't bear the costs. This means any spammer or troll can play! See, for...

        You don't need large amounts of capital for this. The cost of sending messages has dropped to near-zero, and the sender doesn't bear the costs. This means any spammer or troll can play! See, for example, the influence of 4chan.

        Thinking like an epidemiologist, memes don't need funding any more than viruses do. They do need the right conditions for spread.

        The main things affecting how viral a meme becomes is how receptive/vulnerable the audience is to the idea and how interconnected people are.

        This interconnection is not the property of any single social network, but all of them combined. Memes can easily jump between social networks.

        2 votes
  2. [2]
    Akir
    Link
    I had many feelings when seeing this and it took me a while before words started to form, but I realize everything comes down to one thing: I don't really need another social network. And more...

    I had many feelings when seeing this and it took me a while before words started to form, but I realize everything comes down to one thing:

    I don't really need another social network.

    And more specifically I don't want another generic social network which is supposed to just be another communications tool. I've never needed one.

    So I think I just came to realize why exactly I was never taken in by social media. There was always a bootstrapping problem. Most of the people I knew in real life didn't bother communicating on social media to begin with, and even if they were they weren't interesting enough to actively seek out. In the meanwhile, the kind of people with my specific interests weren't available locally, so I had no interesting people to add to those social media sites.

    Throughout time, the only social media sites that have managed to really engage me were generally focused around interests. At the start of the century, that was made up of online message boards generally - ones that were hyper-focused on specific things. I actually browsed Reddit for years before signing up, having found the site when it was just a link aggregator without a comments section; it was only when it became clear that those comments sections were inhabited in part with people who actually knew about the topics the articles were about that made me want to sign up for an account. The only other social media that has ever gained my attention were MUDs and MMORPGs, though those were often less about talking to people than achieving some in-game goal.

    Other than Tildes, there's been precisely one social network that has been even remotely attractive to me, and I feel like it's something of a fluke; Mastidon had many server choices and they were largely based around users interests, so it was actually possible to find interesting people that could tell me more about their interesting projects and hobbies - and some of them might even be experts in their field!

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is that the one missing feature I really want to see on a social site is the ability to have a decent conversation on topics that interest me with people who actually know what they're talking about. And right now for me that's just Tildes and a few ever-shrinking places left over in Reddit.

    14 votes
    1. lou
      Link Parent
      Yeah... 99% of the people I know from real life are only really present on Facebook and Instagram, websites I will not go any close. So it would be advantageous if something like a heavily...

      Yeah... 99% of the people I know from real life are only really present on Facebook and Instagram, websites I will not go any close. So it would be advantageous if something like a heavily constrained and less addictive Facebook became more popular.

      1 vote
  3. [4]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    (edited )
    Link
    I applaud anyone, any site that is trying to find a different path. These people seem to have a promising business philosophy, and I'll keep an eye on it. That said, I doubt their current model...

    I applaud anyone, any site that is trying to find a different path. These people seem to have a promising business philosophy, and I'll keep an eye on it.

    That said, I doubt their current model will succeed; it certainly doesn't "click" for me.

    I don't need a site that arbitrarily limits how often — or how much — I can post. A good social site will help me to find people I actually want to be/become friends with, and then let us chat as much as we want.

    An alternate, interesting possibility might be to limit the number of connections you make ... never have more than, eg, 100 people you follow, or who follow you. That feels like a model that would short-circuit the current ad-driven popularity contest landscape of social media, and encourage some degree of actual friend-making.

    ETA: I do, however, feel any social site that is fully committed to any kind of non-ad-driven business model is already 50+% "there" for me, as this site is.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      I've been thinking about this, too. A lot of the problems with modern social media is that we're essentially dealing with "broadcasts". One person being able to reach literally millions. That's a...

      An alternate, interesting possibility might be to limit the number of connections you make ... never have more than, eg, 100 people you follow, or who follow you. That feels like a model that would short-circuit the current ad-driven popularity contest landscape of social media, and encourage some degree of actual friend-making.

      I've been thinking about this, too. A lot of the problems with modern social media is that we're essentially dealing with "broadcasts". One person being able to reach literally millions. That's a profoundly different form of communication than the original idea of social media, which is sharing posts with maybe 30 people who actually know you.

      I don't know the exact number but there might be a good barrier to implement this. Say, you actually have to pay if you want more than 10k followers and your posts now have to follow a stricter community guideline. You can't just give medical advice, for example.

      There's probably a catch but a lot of problems with social media would disappear.

      6 votes
      1. Eric_the_Cerise
        Link Parent
        I know a lot of the issues with Internet interaction is pure evolutionary. We just did not evolve to communicate with people w/o looking them in the eye, nor interacting (nor even knowing, our...

        I know a lot of the issues with Internet interaction is pure evolutionary. We just did not evolve to communicate with people w/o looking them in the eye, nor interacting (nor even knowing, our whole lives) with more than a few hundred fellow humans.

        3 votes
    2. DrStone
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I do something like this manually. On Facebook, for example, I only add people I've met in person that I would genuinely like to meet/talk with again, and at least once a year or more I cull my...

      never have more than, eg, 100 people you follow, or who follow you

      I do something like this manually.

      On Facebook, for example, I only add people I've met in person that I would genuinely like to meet/talk with again, and at least once a year or more I cull my friend list based on the same criteria. It ends up somewhere around 200 – 250. Additionally, I'm aggressive with hiding content from any pages or groups that people share/repost, and I don't hesitate to mute over-sharers. The result is a feed comprised almost exclusive of personal posts from people I care about which updates at a modest rate. It's great!

      edit: formatting

      3 votes
  4. [4]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    Introducing Slow Social.

    Slow Social is a online space built for growing and sustaining friendships. How it works:

    1. Post at most once a week
    2. Read your friends’ posts once a week
    3. Chill

    Introducing Slow Social.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      Crespyl
      Link Parent
      Your link lost the h from https, which has the interesting result (in at least my browser) of rendering as a normal link, but it does nothing when clicked. I'm pretty sure I've usually seen...

      Your link lost the h from https, which has the interesting result (in at least my browser) of rendering as a normal link, but it does nothing when clicked. I'm pretty sure I've usually seen browsers prompt the user when they encounter an unknown protocol (like ttps://... ought to be), but that doesn't seem to happen in this case. I'm not sure why that is.

      3 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Tildes markdown parser probably failed to recognize it as a valid URL, so simply ignored it instead of passing on a malformed URL. Note that there is no href attribute in the final output: <a...

        Tildes markdown parser probably failed to recognize it as a valid URL, so simply ignored it instead of passing on a malformed URL. Note that there is no href attribute in the final output:

        <a target="_blank" rel="noopener">Introducing Slow Social</a>

        2 votes
  5. [3]
    tomf
    Link
    off-topic, but I'm surprised Apple hasn't tried to do a social network that is only open to your own selected contacts. Pretty much run it off of iMessage without the need for external advertising.

    off-topic, but I'm surprised Apple hasn't tried to do a social network that is only open to your own selected contacts. Pretty much run it off of iMessage without the need for external advertising.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      kwyjibo
      Link Parent
      One could argue shared albums is just that.

      One could argue shared albums is just that.

      2 votes
      1. tomf
        Link Parent
        yeah, but not just photos -- the bullshit like 'I did this and I am very important. Please validate me' along with comments that either include degrees of contacts or just people you know. I've...

        yeah, but not just photos -- the bullshit like 'I did this and I am very important. Please validate me' along with comments that either include degrees of contacts or just people you know.

        I've started airdropping my friends when we're at a party or whatever. Just stupid cats or quick notes, but its fun.

        2 votes