Services that deliver the same functions as Facebook, for after you #DeleteFacebook

After you #DeleteFacebook (here's step-by-step instructions, because they make it damned hard), you'll be wanting to replace the services it provided like instant messaging, event planning, and social news sharing.

In Wired, Louise Matsakis gives her recommendations for alternatives to Facebook: Nuzzel for social news; Signal for messaging; Paperless Post and Doodle for event-planning; your calendar for Birthday reminders; Nextdoor for local swap-meets; GroupMe for group discussions; and a password manager for logins.

This week's On the Media presents an excellent series on Facebook and the media coverage, and I was especially interested in Clay Shirky's point that Facebook isn't successful because it's so good at hosting group message-boards; rather, its magic lies in finding people to form groups with. If you have a rare disease, Facebook can help you find people in the same situation to trade tips and support with.

But Facebook is primarily oriented around "engagement" -- making things "go viral" and get shared and clicked, which is utterly beside the point when the major value-add from Facebook is the ability to have small, specialized discussions with people who are hard to locate otherwise. It suggests a roadmap for people planning their own Facebook killers, centered around solving this real human problem without creating a new one that drives their business model -- for one thing, an interest-oriented people-finder is easy to place relevant advertising on without spying on people, much in the same way that Twitter lets you target an ad to people who share or post with a given hashtag.

(I also liked Shirky's point that Germany is performing the same role in privacy rules that California serves in auto-safety; just like automakers ensure that all the cars they sell everywhere can pass California's strict safety and emissions standards, online services are now making privacy policies for everyone that pass muster in Germany)

While deleting Facebook might feel like a step in a more private direction, it's ultimately not going to do much to change the online digital economy that profits by collecting your personal information and selling it to data brokers. Facebook collects arguably the most private information, but plenty of other popular social networking apps like Snapchat and Twitter collect your data too. That's their entire business model: When you're not paying for a product, you are the product. Even your internet-service provider is likely collecting your personal information. In fact, through its expansive ad network, Facebook even collects info from people who aren't even on the platform.

Still, deleting your Facebook account will prevent some of your personal info from being sucked up, and might make you feel better too. And with a few choice downloads, you won't miss a thing.

Deleting Facebook? Here Are the Best Alternatives For What You'll Miss [Louise Matsakis/Wired]

(Image: Torley, CC-BY-SA)

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