the Webb blog

Who the hell creates a social network?

3 minute read

Or, "Social networks are terrible, so I'm creating one". But...why? Excellent question, buckle up gang!

Social networks in 2017 are just bad. There's no shortage of articles written about how depressing, manipulative, greedy, and morally bankrupt they are but, to what end? The same people writing about these horrid networks continue to use them because despite all the horrible things done (or ignored) by the creators to their users, these networks have utility. At their very core, social networks bring people together and double as support groups for like-minded thinkers (for better or worse). There's (seemingly) no incentive for the networks to make things better on behalf of their users. Where else are they (the masses) gonna go? Mastodon? Sublevel? Scuttlebutt? HAH!

"Big Social" knows damn well that the average user (read: at least 70% of them) isn't going to:

  1. Create a DigitalOcean, or other VPS (virtual private server) provider account
  2. Pay money for a server (even though the cheapest is $5)
  3. Read a tutorial on GitHub for instructions on how to set up their own Mastodon instance
  4. Invite their friends and family
  5. Maintain the server and continue paying $5/month for it

You wanna know what my friends did after I told them I was deleting my Facebook account at the top of this year? Some responded with a disaffected, "oh". Some were appalled at the privacy violations they unknowingly subjected themselves to daily yet continued scrolling their feed. Others just didn't care. Now we get to the reason social networks are just bad and will continue to be: The masses simply do not give a rat's ass, flying fuck, and/or shit. Womp womp.

To my wife's credit, she mainly uses Facebook for the mom/support groups she's found. All those moms aren't going to a transition to a Discord server or subreddit because the experience will be too jarring and that'll make the transition unlikely to stick.

To be quite honest, I am not much better. I mean sure, I quit Google because of their ever-increasing invasiveness to my privacy and selling my user data to advertisers. I now self-host my email (shout out to Mail-in-a-Box). But...I created a new Google account so I could still use YouTube (thinking about deleting it again and manually keeping track of favorite channels but MEHHHHH).

I complain about Twitter on Twitter and guess what? I tweet like a mofo. I retweet even more! I favorite! I am disgusted by the fact that they utilize Drumpf in their advertisements overseas while pretending that they cannot hold the current U.S. president to the same standards as everyone else. I am disgusted by the way they enable Nazi propaganda while simultaneously blocking such content in Germany and France. I am disgusted by the way they effectively shit on their users being attacked and for some strange reason, side with the oppressors/attackers. And's the best damn version of social media I've been on to date and that does not make me happy. At some point though, you've got to stop complaining and take action.

Socii logo and logotype

Introducing Socii ("Oh great, another social network," you think), my answer to the bullshit perpetuated by Big Social and the absence of an easily accessible alternative (pronounced \'sō-'kē\).

Like Big Social, you'll be able to:

  • add a profile picture
  • have an accent color
  • post updates

Unlike Big Social, you'll be able to:

  • play with a crap ton more customization options (top secret for now)
  • use tools to customize and protect your online experience
  • read your timeline untouched by algorithms

"This sounds good," you say, "but how will you make money? I'm not paying for a social network!"

Well damn, you're stingy but okay I get it. There will be a merchandise shop, account upgrades like the ability to secure a three/four character username, and something else related to the top secret customization options mentioned above. Furthermore, there will be a way for users to make a bit of cash themselves. It is my hope that this will be enough to keep Socii going once the free tier limits on some services I'm using to operate it start costing money.

To temper expectations (if only for myself), I do not expect Socii to become "the one true network" but I would be delighted if people found it to be a welcome reprieve and community of good vibes. A private alpha will occur in early 2018 with a beta slated for (hopefully) late summer. I'll bring people in on a rolling basis at that point. If you'd like to be notified once early registration opens up, feel free to sign up at! 🕸