Imzy: Social Media With You in Mind

Putting your {social} media where your mouth is, Part 2.

Part 2 of my Why Twitter Fucking Loves Your Trauma write-up. In this, I talk about Imzy, my social media of choice, and its dedication to anti-harassment.

“If I leave Twitter, where can I develop my social media presence?”

Allow me to introduce Imzy.

Imzy is a new social media platform built by ex-founders of Reddit* who decided to make anti-harassment and anti-abuse a cornerstone of their business. They have no interest in ads, no interest in the kind of mentality that allows abuse to run rife, and puts the experience in the users’ hands.

*[UPDATE: not ex-founders of reddit, but founders of Redditgifts, who became VP of product and head of community at Reddit; there are several more who are former Reddit employees, and one from Twitter—thanks to Jessica Moreno for clarification]

If I had to label it, it’s sort of a livejournal-meets-reddit-meets-facebook, but with the ability to follow user “communities” in the same way you’d follow Twitter profiles or Facebook pages/profiles. Just with no ads, algorithms, or push to promote.

Basically, the experience is 100% up to you.

For example: say you absolutely love everything I have to say about art journals. But my politics really stress you out. Instead of following my user page (my community, the vernacular calls it), you can follow communities about art journals — knowing that I’m likely to be in there chatting it up about art journals — while saving yourself my politics.

Why? Because Imzy policies state that communities are to be topical and subject/interest oriented. If I were to unload political drek in an art journal community, the community leaders have the ability to block or ban me. If I was a total ass and made new accounts to keep posting, Imzy can blacklist my IP.

On the other hand, should you join a community about Zelda and then complain there’s too much Zelda? It’s a self-correcting problem: just see yourself out. Zelda community is gonna Zelda.

You can create public communities where everyone can post, or restricted where only the leaders can post but anyone can comment, or private communities where it’s hidden and invite-only.

Then there’s personal blog communities, which are exactly that: I have a K. C. Alexander community wherein I do all the things I am prone to do on Twitter or Facebook. So does Kevin Hearne. And Lilith Saintcrow. And others.

I can write about what I want, post out a brief update like I would on Twitter (“A lady walked by wearing an octopus. You know. As one does.”), put news announcements like I would on Facebook, and otherwise have all that space to use as I see fit. You can tag your posts for easy organization, too — writing, art, personal, random, news, books, depression, hilarity, cats LOL, and so on. You can write posts with categories like Tumblr: image, text, etc.

“Personal blogs” work like following somebody’s Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter. You can be 100% anonymous and just follow people’s personal blog to keep tabs on it, or you can assign a profile to it when you want to comment. And there are no lists of who is part of what community.

You can create as many profiles as you want in one account, but once you set a profile to a community, you can’t use any other profiles in that particular community. This cuts down on sockpuppets.

It’s not a perfect solution, and there is no perfect solution. But Imzy has gone on record saying they want to make it as difficult as possible to fuck up the system, and as easy as possible to keep your space harassment-free.

Although Imzy is currently in beta, they intend to go live within a few weeks (including apps for phone). They accept and love user feedback, implement good ideas, and seem really intent on creating a kinder, better curated space where you can find or create the communities you need to have the discussions you want.

And they have already banned Gamergate communities and users.

Which is more than Twitter has ever been willing to do.

“I want to follow people anonymously! You know, for reasons.”

As I mentioned above, you can do that. By “joining” somebody’s community, the posts left on that community will appear in your news feed. There is no way for anyone to see that you are getting those posts, so you can keep tabs on causes, authors, sexy dirty fan fiction of your choice without exposure.

Once you choose to interact with a community, you are asked to assign or make a profile. That’s when people can track your name, should you use it elsewhere. For example, by commenting on my community as LovesReadingHatesFrogs, people can recognize you if you use the same profile in other communities.

Then again, you can have unlimited profiles. Having one per community is great for anonymity, yeah?

Just be aware: getting blocked or banned under one profile will block all your profiles. Bad behavior is not easy to get around.

“Imzy is too hard to master!”

Maybe. It’s different, that’s for sure. Got questions? Let me hear them. I’d love to help you out.

Otherwise, I find where most people get hung up is on the vernacular. Imzy uses one catch-all term for blog, group, profile: community. It can be off-putting, make you think you are required to put depth and detail into everything you post.

But the fact is, there are communities who only post GIFs. There are cat LOL communities. As I said, I use my own community in the same way I’d use FB or Twitter.

Once you realize you can do anything you want with your community? You’ve nailed it.

And you can do it knowing that Imzy has your back.

“But Twitter is so easy!”

I know. It’s very easy. Maybe that’s why they think no one will care if they let abuse run rampant.

As for me, I’d rather re-learn a new platform than know people are being willfully and harmfully exposed to harassment.

What about you?

I am leaving Twitter. I am going to Imzy, because they started with a premise of non-harassment. Because I can curate my experience, and because my health, safety, and well-being matter to them.

They have communities dedicated to Black Lives Matter, to femme types in gaming, to the Muslim faith, and more. Art. Fan-fiction. Author-support. LGBTQ+ support. Communities dedicated to happy things. And communities dedicated to real discussions on real topics.

These communities are safer than Twitter ever was, well-maintained and abuse-free. They offer personal communities, pages, where these subjects can be talked about at will, for people to follow, like, comment on, or share.

They do everything the other social media platforms do, and they do it with kindness. Plus, anti-harassment policies.

There is space for everyone. All it requires is a little effort. And a whole lot of choosing where you want to stand.

Although Imzy is currently in beta, you can gain an invite by going to my community and clicking to request to join. I am also available to answer questions about the platform.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Imzy, its founders, or whatever else. I just really want to help launch a site that gives a shit about its people.

K. C. Alexander is the author of Necrotech, an aggressive transhumanist sci-fi, and the writer of various short stories at Fireside Fiction and Geeky Giving. She is an artist, an outer god, obsessed with washi tape, and will not tolerate your shit.