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First, let me introduce you to a beautiful framework to be aware of as you read the list below of alternatives to Facebook's functions. It's Cal Newport's divide-and-conquor approach to handeling Social Media and other technologies described in his newest book Digital Minimalism (2019). He lays out a plan to reboot your digital life according to your values in three steps:
The Digital Declutter
- Define specific technology rules for a 30 day period, where you stop using "optional technologies".
- Take the 30 day break from optional technologies and follow the rules
- Reintroduce selected technologies
This recipe should help you use digital technology to serve your needs. However, to avoid overuse, distraction and wasted time, he suggests a stringent set of criteria for which technologies to reintroduce. Here they are verbatim (p. 77):
The Minimalist Technology Screen
To allow an optional technology back into your life at the end of the digitial declutter, it must:
- Serve something you deeply value (offering some value is not enough)
- Be the best way to use technology to serve this value (if it's not, replace it with something better)
- Have a role in your life that is constrained with a standard operating procedure that specifies when and how you use it
Regardless of whether you try Newport's digital declutter, you can immediately stop using or replace certain technologies today, if you sense they are not the best way of serving your values. With this in mind, know that Facebook wants you to think binarily: Either you use Facebook or you don't.
This allows the to entice you into their ecosystem with some feature you find important, and then, once you're a "user", deploy attention engineering to overwhelm you with integrated options, trying to keep you engaging with their service well beyond your original purpose
- Digital Minimalism, p. 76
But you don't have to fall for that. Facebook is a conglomeration of different functions, which you use to different degrees and that you can use or stop using consciously. With this in mind, it can be useful to know alternatives to specific functions.
Facebook in general
Guides to Facebook Alternatives:
Selected alternative social networks:
Please read Restore Privacy's review of private messenger apps)
- RIOT.IM - a universal secure chat app entirely under your control
- Rocket Chat - open source communication software, replace email and improve your digital workflow
- (local) websites
- Talk to people
- Doodle - For smart scheduling
- JotForm - Forms
- TypeForm - Forms and questionaires
- Contact people via text or email when you congratulate their birthday.
- Sounds laborious? Consider not congratulating as many people on their birthday.
Recommendations & Tips
- Ask friends
- Search the internet, read books, research yourself
- F-Droid instead of Android
- (Ubuntu instead of Windows)
Jobs / CV
- (local) websites
- Disroot - a site putting together and running many open source services
- Freedom Box - volunteers putting together an easy-to-use way to host things yourself
Niche cultures / Subcultures / Activism
See groups, events etc. Many movements, grassroots and subcultures have been built through FB, this is a hard one
Far away or old friends and family
- Save your friend's contact details! when finishing educations, jobs, projects etc
- Consider if someone is important enough to worry about if you are not willing to spend the time to write them personally
Facebook is NOT a news service. Pay journalists for quality work.
- The Guardian
- New York Times
- Washington Post
- Information (DK)
- Weekendavisen (DK)
- Zetland (DK)