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Or maybe that should be AntiSocial Networking
During a brief period near the end of the zero-zeros decade, there were such a thing as "Social Networking Sites". To some people, these seemed like a good idea at the time. However, the unseen problems should be coming to light. Also, there are better alternatives!
For one thing, there's been a better alternative for years, and that's...
...which is a virtual reality.
Update 2011/08: There's now also...
hope this is better than no-privacy no-control Facebook!
Not looking good so far, because Google Plus appears to have a fascist policy on naming. Let's hope they see the error of their ways and reform this, because Pseudonymity is a Human Right, and Google Plus initially tried to stomp all over it. See www.guardian.co.uk/science/punctuated-equilibrium/2011/jul/28/google-open-letter-google
Also, there is Badoo, which is social networking where you meet new people, except there's a problem of Badoo Spam!
Plus there is Gay.com, which is gay dating and social networking.
However, there is a fundamentally better idea than Social Networking, and that's Having Your Own Website. Having your own website means you have freedom of speech, and you have control over your own setup. It also limits the amount of incoming stuff which has always been a drain on your resources at your expense. Social networking seems to be designed to take up all of your time and more besides. However, if you get a decent hosting such as Vivostar, having your own website can actually cost less than some of the overpriced social networking, and there's less fuss.
There are significant problems with social networking sites. For one thing, there's the Facebook Spam, which is a nuisance. More importantly, there are issues with freedom of speech. Since the USA went to war against freedom of speech and made Wikileaks founder a political prisoner, it's become fairly obvious that social networking sites are starting to cower and to bow-and-scrape to the overbearing tyranny that tries to label anyone "a terrorist" if they don't conform. This may not seem as blatant as Google in China, but it is notable. In effect, social networking sites have become the proxy enforcer of Worldwide CIA Law (also see Sharia Law).
In 2011, Twitter was victim to coercion from the USA tyranny to reveal private information about political dissidents.
In contrast, if we all have our own websites, the evil secret government has to try to pursue us all, which it can't do. There are more of us than them, and it gets like Alice in Wonderland with the Queen of Hearts trying to "Off with their head!" to everyone, and failing miserably, not merely by the practicality of implementation of such a genocide, but by the logical comment made by Alice on the absurdity of such a policy.
The Internet is at last a chance for we the people to chuck out overbearing government. If the Soviet Union were still around, it would now be in severe shtuck with The Internet undermining its authority. Superpowers hate the Internet.
The encroaching moves by social networking sites to take over the Internet are seen on TV shows where they've not got a proper website and instead have a Twitter/Facebook link. It's a sellout.
There are also a large number of worthless Facebook items (with no content) appearing on results from Search Engines. This clearly shows faults in the way these pages are appearing. It's what Google called "spam".
Another bad thing about social networking sites is the vapourware nature of the stuff. With a newspaper at least there's an archive and the printed matter can be stored for posterity. With social networking sites, stuff disappears pretty quickly. Poor form. With websites, it's up to you to back up your own website, but essentially, you can. (Keep the definitive version offline and back it up as archives!)
"Most of the stuff on Twitter is written for idiots by idiots" as Xyroth once wisely commented.
Indeed, it is true that social networking is aimed at a lower level of customers than the real Internet.
Facebook has an unfortunate tendency to be occupied by Trolls, who indulge in bullying including the victimisation of the bereaved and their memory of the deceased. In contrast, Having Your Own Website provides a decent level of integrity and security.
Facebook has become a new evil in the world, an insidious evil like a cancer that takes over more and more of the patient. It would be better for the health of the world if Facebook were to be deleted, surgically removed. They claim to own all your data, and they are willing to do unethical things with it. No privacy. No rights. There is a much further depth to the problem of Facebook, and that's why there is now an additional page at this site to fight it, like other evils such as PayPal and Getty Images. With a major evil, there's often a sign in advance, like when the Nazi power invaded Czechoslovakia. Then is the time to start building opposition so as to be ready to fight when they invade Poland. So, Down With Facebook!
Can't Social Networking be Done Properly?
Well, it could be, but it would require setting up a new social networking system, which would have to have the following qualities:
* It must be independent of any locality, and not under the control of any government's laws. Linux and Open Source succeeds in this by being of chaotic distribution.
* There must be freedom of speech. If you say something that some authoritarian government doesn't like, they can't do much about it.
* Material is written and then stored, and archived by chaotic backup so that future generations can read it. (This is what distinguishes a "Classical" period from "Dark Ages". Which do you want the present age to be?)
Update: There is a program called Crabgrass - see http://crabgrass.riseuplabs.org which is an Open Source method of social networking. To beat the other problems of most social networking (eg. the evil Facebook), the hosting needs to be distributed as well as the software being open-source. Hence, Diaspora - see http://diasporaproject.org
It may be worth comparing Badoo to see how that measures up.
Setting up a social network that actually has privacy and respect for the individual is clearly very subversive and poses a threat to the evil government and the spying agencies thereof. Note that one of the founders of Diaspora, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, has been killed, (almost certainly murdered). There could be many likely places to blame. Governments, rival companies, etc. However, yet again, PayPal has been involved in acting against Freedom as per what happened with Wikileaks and the martyrdom of Julian Assange.
Now on this thing about Having Your Own Website, it's a fact that many good websites link to other websites. If we all have our own site, we can link to whomever we like. The Internet has always been a network.
Also see How to Get Your Own Website, including detailed instructions. Go on, declare Independence!
Also see Freedom and Personal Liberty and The Oncoming Cyber War
Plus, many of the (anti)Social Networking sites fall foul of the Freedoms already established at EFF.org
You can link to this page, and other pages at this site. These pages are here to stay. There is a sensible deep link policy here!