We can all agree that at some point Facebook was an ideal social network and some might say that it still is by definition; it’s where all your friends and family can be contacted. There have been other social networks that are “better” but didn’t top Facebook in users because the people you know aren’t on it. Facebook lost it’s way because, like any business, it has stockholders to appease. They’ve had to pivot in ways by copying technology from other tech companies (which didn’t work) or acquire companies and integrate them into Facebook (which has worked). Then you have the multiple data scandals. Instagram brought promise at first of people being more visual and telling more stories with pictures and photos, but it too has its way with Instagram influencers and the celebs selling teas via the platform. A proper social network would have a good way to communicate via text as well, which Instagram doesn’t.
Twitter is a viable option but just like Facebook, the people who run it have no good standing in the eyes of the public. As often as Donald Trump tweets, if he were to violate the TOS, I doubt Twitter would shut down his account because he brings so much traffic to the service. There are others I could go on that shortchange the meaning of an ideal social media platform but I digress.
There are too many problems when curating a good social network. You have to monitor technology properly. Facebook as of right now, has over two billion users, almost 2.5. It’s impossible to police that many people. Even 1% of that I would say is hard to keep track of. When Google+ was at its peak, I thought it was great. The conversations I had were better than the ones I had on Facebook. My friends and family weren’t on it but that wasn’t a bad thing in my opinion. For a network to thrive it has to maximize userbase. The problem with the “Facebook effect” is that a network gets too many users and it becomes toxic.
For now, something like Mastodon would be ideal. Mastodon itself has a complex learning curve and would never catch on to the masses but having an open source network that connects people in some way is the way to go. How would it be monetizable? We tried the Facebook way. A company can be as transparent as the public wants, but without proper data laws, that won’t fly. Once online ads become better and they show what people actually want, then use that strategy. People will not mind if it’s products they want to use.
Theoretically, I think an ideal social network is going to be something innovative. Facebook wasn’t innovative, it rode on the coattails of Myspace and became bigger. At its core, Facebook is just a glorified forum. Whether it be a new technology, a new internet, or a new system of operations, it hasn’t been thought of yet. I just know that it’s business and underlying tech will have to be more open than the ones in the past.