I was about to email you, but I couldn’t find your address anywhere

Hey Dalton, I could be wrong here but I feel like you and I have similar sensibilities. You’ve written and done things I’ve found myself thinking about and doing quite a lot. So without further adieu, let me get into this.

I’d like to share with you my own vision for the true social network. The actual network itself. This is something I’ve contemplated for a while, but over the last number of months it has become a little clearer; or rather I’ve been able to take it from an itch to a feeling, and now words.

Facebook, amongst others, are known as ‘Social Networks’, yet when you study the term, it’s an incorrect description. Your social network is a constant that exists outside of a single branded experience. It’s your life. I’m connecting with you via this email, but Twitter has no idea of that, of course. Yet, we are aware of it in our minds. We live our social network, we know what we do. When I do one thing I’m mindful of everything else I do. When I share a photo on Instagram, I’m aware of the tweet I posted this morning. When I check the weather on my iPhone, I’m aware of the bus times I just checked on Dublin Bus. I’m aware of it all. In addition, I’m aware of all the other things people are sharing, tweeting, posting, emailing, everything. I’m connected to it all. It’s brilliant. That’s my social network; it exists in the consciousness of my mind. This is the real social network, but the internet is dumb to this.

Build the network. Not as an experience, but as an infrastructure. The contention is simple: There is no such thing as a one size fits all experience. It’s a non-entity. It’s insatiable. Facebook know this, and they’re caught in a mess for it, hence why they’re trying open-graph. It’s like the poor mans version of what I’m talking about. Typical of Facebook as a whole.

I met a couple of guys on Airtime, a few kids. They’re building this app called Wax. It’s simple. It’s basically a way of challenging friends to do tricks on skateboards etc. You record then upload a video of the trick, then the tricks are approved/rejected by the crowd. You get points for doing tricks. It’s fun, has genuine value and makes sense for the people who want to use it. Something like this wouldn’t be possible on the averageness of Facebook. There are a lot of reasons for this. The community isn’t the same, it’s average. The features aren’t there, they’re average. The noise of everything else that happens on Facebook. In fact, Facebook is good for nothing. It does nothing well. It’s exactly why Facebook bought Instagram and Zuck said he won’t change it. Much. He won’t change it because he knows it’s a good product and there’s going to be a lot more amazing products coming that can’t all be Facebook blue. As an experience, Facebook is the lowest common denominator, it’s third-rate. If it remains the same, it’ll be disrupted in no time.

With the recent proliferation of programming (among the non-nerds, and beyond), more people from varied backgrounds are making really awesome experiences tailored for unique interests that were never even touched by the internet until now. Our ‘networks’ are becoming a lot more bespoke and richer. Skaters are making apps, not nerds in the valley. People from all walks of life are solving their own problems, you can’t beat that. In fact, it’s already happening, and it’s close to hitting mainstream, another year or two and it’ll be in full affect. We all use slightly different variants of apps, we use them for different purposes, and different times, we interact with different people, it’s all incredibly different. This is your digital genome, whatever you want to call it. It’s life. It’s your real social network. Facebook is NOT a social network. It’s a bloated Twitter.

This is not FriendFeed. This would be service that allows all the apps you use talk to one another. It’s purely backend. It’s a developer tool. We need a service that ties all this together. But not an experience to tie it all together. A service. Something the user never sees, but uses. This service would act as a reservoir of all activity. Everything you do informs the reservoir. Apps can pull or push to the reservoir. A constantly evolving vat of knowledge about you.

It just dawned on me now that I summed this all up in one paragraph back in march.

I would pay for a service that never sells a single piece of my life. For a service that cares about my emotions and not ad impressions. For a service that is committed to putting me first and not the advertiser. For a service that emphasizes and never blurs the sanctity of my privacy. For a service that fosters real friendships with real friends and not the consumption of information. For a service that respects my time and never dares to distract me. For a service that humbly gets the fuck out of the way, becomes invisible and allows for humanity to prosper. For a service that isn’t a service at all, but a beautiful supplementation to life.

THE LAST WORD, blog.sefsar.com

Let me know if you’d like my help doing something about this.


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