Tear Down The Social Network Walls and Get Back to the Web

Keep in mind everything you’re about to read (if you find this to read it) is written by someone who is purposely non-social. I used to say antisocial but the definition of that word connotes some type of recluse that takes actions against society. It doesn’t quite fit and is a little overboard for how I am and how I behave on a daily basis. I’m not against being social I’m just not actively social.

Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, and on and on and on and on. There has to be a better way to be public on the Internet. Participating in all these walled gardens kind of sucks. I’ve joined most, if not all, of these social networking sites and find that each one is good for somethings but not a single one is good for all things or even for general purpose things. Also, all of these sites use your information and your social connections to make money off of you. You always have to remember that if you’re not paying to use the service then you are not the customer but the product. They are selling you to advertisers. It’s the same model as television, radio, and newspapers but far more insidious because social networking sites know more about you (sometimes everything).

Posting updates for friends and family go on Facebook. Posting to try to engage in a wider conversation on a variety of topics (photography in particular) seems to be falling to Google+. Random comments or breaking news blurbs get posted to Twitter. You want to let everyone know what businesses you are patronizing you post to Foursquare.  A lot of people cross post too. Sometimes there are even web apps or plugins that will work with one site or another that will take care of the task of automatically cross posting. It becomes truly maddening to try to keep up with all of this. Wouldn’t it be nice if all these sites would remove the walls that separate them and easily allow the sharing of your posts from one site to the next? After all, we believe we own the content we put on these sites (you really don’t you know). We know they won’t because we create the information that these sites use to sell their advertising.

There has to be a better way. In fact, I believe the better way has existed for quite some time and the solution keeps posts under each person’s control. It’s called having your own personal web server. Not an account on WordPress or Blogger but your own site hosted either on your own server at your home or office or on a server you rent (out there in the “cloud”). RSS feeds allow people to “follow” you (I know that few “normal” people understand or even know about RSS). The problem is that no one has made it as easy to do as just joining Facebook or Google+. I don’t know why that is.

I thought by now that some company would have come up with an easy DIY home web server. Something you could buy on Amazon or at Best Buy, take it home, plug it into your home Internet connection, enter in some basic configuration like domain name and such, and poof… your  own personal web/email server.

Something needs to happen as I’m sick of going from one site to the next or keeping all these tabs open on my browser just so I can stay in touch with people with which I care to remain in touch.