We don’t need to rehash all the ways Facebook went from fun to creepy. Much of the world is realizing that the novelty and connection Facebook offered in its early days is gone. In its place is that constant feeling that it’s 3am in a Reno, Nevada casino when we’d like to stop playing the slot machines, but can’t quite do it.
The answer isn’t to continue to focus on all the ways Facebook has let us down. The more important question at this moment is what we are going to build in its place.
We are getting a social do-over. And while it will take time, it can’t happen fast enough.
I want to make the case for an entirely new approach to social media. One that doesn’t rely on a few centrally controlled platforms (platforms that, by their nature, are treasure chests for bad actors), but unlocks a new level of creativity, belonging, connection, and financial opportunity for anyone who throws their hat in the ring.
Here’s the thing. I don’t think we want one primary social network that relies increasingly on a mysterious, apparently easy-to-manipulate Artificial Intelligence designed to skim as much information as possible about us so it can be sold to the highest bidder. Rather, I think we want a big, open world of millions of unique, independent communities run by entrepreneurs, not-for-profits, online business owners, and organizers.
In short, you.
To be sure, I am absolutely biased in proposing this direction. I run a company called Mighty Networks dedicated to unlocking and making simple this vision of the future. I’ve invested a decade in creating a more healthy, colorful, interesting, and equitable model for social media — first with Ning (a pioneering social platform for niche social networks that was a bit too early) and now with Mighty Networks (which looks like it’s right on time).
And I want you to join us in creating new, small communities online and in the real world. In fact, I want to give you 10 reasons why choosing to create or join your own community dedicated to your unique interests is the social media future we all deserve.
10 Reasons to #deletefacebook and launch your own community.
#1 You’ll have fewer distractions. When you choose to build (or join) your own community around an interest or passion, you begin to take control over the noise, clutter, and all out war for your attention that’s vital to fuel advertising revenue on social media. This isn’t just about getting your time back, but also reclaiming your joy, openness, and perspective.
Connections and a sense of belonging aren’t built in 1.7 seconds — or what’s considered a “view” on Facebook. They are built when you get to meet new people around a shared purpose — people near you by location, like you by category, or interested in learning about the same topics you are.
#2 You’ll have more fun. Fewer distractions may sound a bit scary (how will you fill the time?), but, in practice, choosing an open road is just more fun. When you create a community, it’s like hosting a party. You get to imagine something new and bring it to life. I believe there is no better high in the world. Bringing people together and making connections they otherwise wouldn’t find is one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve ever had. And the purpose of Mighty Networks is to make it easy and fast to build, cultivate, and enjoy these communities — something that traditionally was anything but.
#3 It’s less work than you think. One of the greatest myths that keep us chained to our newsfeed is that building a new community is a ton of work. It used to be, but that is why we created Mighty Networks — to make it easy and more fun. Some people want to create or relaunch a community with purpose and intention because it’s energy-producing for them. It gives them meaning, where mindlessly scrolling through a feed of clickbait headlines does not. Others just want a place where they can hang out with like-minded people without worrying that Big Brother is watching, listening, or scheming how to inject something into the conversation to make you engage (and, of course, make them money!). No matter the reason, the alternative I’m proposing is a compelling and meaningful experience that sits in sharp contrast to fighting algorithms and exposing ourselves to potent psychological warfare.
#4 You’ll be less fatigued. I believe one of the many reasons we all feel exhausted by today’s social media options is that somehow our entire lives are supposed to happen in one very blue and white feed. Looking at the same thing for hours (especially a rapidly moving stream controlled by algorithms none of us quite understand) is not a natural state for any of us.
What’s beautiful about creating your own community is that it’s yours. You get to choose your features. You get to choose your design. You get to choose your events. You get to write and express yourself. And, most importantly, you get to choose who you bring together.
#5 You’ll attract amazing people to you. Meeting people who believe in your idea or want to be a member of your tribe is the biggest rush I have ever known. I guarantee you’ll be stoked to wake up in the morning when you see how your ideas spark others to assemble and engage. Getting the word out about what you’re building is easy. Start with your friends, current followers, and a clear ask. From there, you’ll find the right people, as long as you share YOUR community and YOUR work, and not the clickbait scientifically designed and tested to get you to share THEIR thing. Creating a community is the surest way to bring amazing people together and make a unique mark on the world. And, for the first time in a long time, folks are ready for something new.
#6 You’ll introduce amazing people to each other. This is where a community gets the most interesting. As you introduce people to each other, what you’re building gets more valuable and useful to each and every person who joins. It’s no longer about yelling out into a feed whizzing by, but rather hosting a party where people meet each other. I mean TRULY meet each other, not just listen to you. When you spark a relationship between people who connect on a meaningful level, there is really no better feeling out there. It’s not just networking, it’s life.
#7 You can make a little (or a lot of) money. Beyond all the good stuff that keeps your people coming back — great people to meet, message, and learn from — many communities also offer the option to get paid. Whether through membership subscriptions, sponsorships, event tickets, or online courses, you can earn a little (or a lot of) extra money. This means you’ll get more time or resources to put back in the community to make it stronger. When you build something valuable people love, they’ll pay for it. That’s one of the bonuses of choosing this path.
#8 It’s a rush when people join and contribute. I admit it. When someone joins a community I’ve launched and starts contributing, the rush is better than anything I’ve felt in the comment section of my own blog or on my social media accounts. Rather than show up only to read my stuff and move on, people can connect because they have the same professional goal to be an entrepreneur, they live near each other, they have the same interests, or they care about the same topics. There’s simply nothing like it.
#9 You’ll join a growing community of creators just like you. A few months back, I started a new community for aspiring entrepreneurs, online businesses, not-for-profits, and those with a side hustle to meet and learn from each other. It’s become a very special place. There’s something magical that happens when together we build something wonderful on the web, on mobile, and in the real world. It’s why I think millions of communities are the future. There’s an energy, purpose, and passion to them that can’t be crushed or corrupted.
#10 You’ll bring purpose and intention to your time spent in social media. The sad fact of social media today is that even when you show up to post, share, or take a stand, the products are so finely tuned to mindless scrolling, it’s sometimes hard to remember the reason you opened your phone in the first place.
When you funnel your efforts into building a community on your terms around something important to you, your power comes from your mission, and the high comes from the novelty of creating something new. Now, as you focus on growing, engaging, and even generating revenue or donations from a community powered by humans with whom you can open up and share, you sharpen your focus, you use your time more wisely, and you’ll have energy for days.
Ready to get started?
Come join us in Mighty Hosts and have a look around. Then, before you #deletefacebook, create your own community and tell people about it. This is a moment to build something more potent, powerful, and passionate than anything we’ve seen to date.
You are literally creating the future. I can’t wait to see where you — and we — take it together.