Social Media Exodus: MeWe

For anyone that remembers Google Plus, it was actually a fairly slick setup for social media. You could have different circles of people, which made it easy to segregate the sections of your life. Maybe you have some super liberal friends, so you put them in one circle and don’t share your news feed with them. Or maybe your brother is a complete moron and loves to comment about your parenting. In that case, you cut him out of the family picture sharing but don’t mind letting him see your posts about deer hunting.

When Google Plus shut down, most of the members went to MeWe. MeWe brags of inherent security, not selling your information and not censoring. I signed up, not even needing an email (I just used my phone number), and blam, I was in.

And it was really empty.

Like, I didn’t know what to do next.

On of MeWe’s biggest downsides is that it is so privacy conscious that it forgets that it forget that people were willing to give up some privacy to get easily connected with their friends. Facebook loves suggesting friends, groups and everything else based on location, contacts and browsing history. MeWe doesn’t do that, and that’s not a bad thing, but the Mewe walkthrough (seemingly run by a chatbot) doesn’t tell you what to do next.

After a lot of frustration, I figured out how to search for groups. Soon I was on a sous vide group, a chainsaw group, and some news media groups. Now my news feed was full of something. Then I found a few friends and added them. I also created a church group so people could have discussions without feeling like Facebook was hanging in the shadows, ready to classify them as a hate group.

After about 2 weeks of use, I did find some great meme groups, which to be honest, was a large reason that I scan Facebook. I’m also on a non-conspiracy theorist conservative group, which is decently uplifting and better than Facebook discussions ever were. But there are a lot of gaps. I can’t livestream or even call anyone (like you can with Messenger) unless you pay money.

To be frank, I’m not jazzed about MeWe. I think its most compelling feature is having a private group that is truly private, so you can talk openly and not worry about being thrown to the angry pitchfork mob of social justice warriors. But as a Facebook replacement? Not in its current form. It would need a way better introduction for new users and more features that I used in Facebook like livestreaming. Until then, MeWe might make temporary gains, but its not going to be a full Facebook competitor.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Social Media Exodus: Nextdoor review

Nextdoor’s icon. Kind of like a Monopoly piece

After getting tired of the Facebook, and now YouTube, censorship of anything remotely conservative, I decided to plot my social media exodus. If you read anything online, anyone contemplating leaving Facebook is an idiot, but since I don’t trust the media anyway, I wanted to try it myself. Over the next few Saturdays, I’m going to outline alternatives to Facebook, YouTube and Google, give each the pluses and minuses, and give you a guide on how to transition successfully.

My view of Twitter, even before the election

But I won’t help you with Twitter. Twitter has always been hot garbage. You’re on your own there.

The first platform that you should try is Nextdoor. I found this gem on a list of alternative social media sites, and it does not disappoint. Nextdoor connects you with your neighbors. When you register, you put in your address, which then places you in a pre-defined neighborhood. You then get dropped right into a well-designed home page that shows you posts from your neighbors plus nearby neighborhoods.

The first big difference from Facebook is that there isn’t a friends list to maintain. Nextdoor lets you see only the people in your neighborhood. When you go to post something, you can only post in a number of categories: for sale, safety, general, lost and found and recommendations. When you look at the general feed, its not at all like Facebook. There aren’t annoying Vox articles linked by your liberal friends, or anti-vax memes from that crazy mom down the street. Nope, its just local news.

Which is not a bad thing. I found a city council meeting I had missed, so I got updates on nearby construction projects. I also found out our water metering people were hacked by ransomware, which is why they haven’t sent us a bill. I never saw any of that on Facebook, and those things actually affect me a lot more than most of the things I read on Facebook.

For your interest areas, there are local groups, although not nearly as many as Facebook. It didn’t take long to find a conservative group that was working to support local people running for office. I also quickly found a gardening group and pawpaw (the fruit) group. I had to start a group for dads, but there were a million mom groups already. Although it doesn’t have the number of groups of Facebook, the fact that I can make a group with people in the area only is kind of nice.

The other great feature is the “for sale” section. One of the big benefits of Facebook is the Marketplace section, where you can find a ton of items for sale, or sell your items quickly. I’ve made a killing selling firewood through Marketplace, and that was something I didn’t want to lose. Nextdoor has similar functionality. Even better, I’m not wasting my time looking at items that are hundreds of miles away but offer “free shipping.”

Overall, Nextdoor has about 75% of what I want in social media. I get local things that matter to me, local groups that I care about, and can sell to my neighbors. I miss out on out of area relatives and friends, which is why Nextdoor can’t replicate Facebook. To be fair, they don’t claim to do that, and if you live near most of your family, maybe you won’t mind.

I now find myself checking Nextdoor a lot more than Facebook, and certainly enjoying it more. Maybe you will too, I’d recommend giving it a try.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.