Unlike Us #2: Understanding Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives
Session 5: Pitfalls of Building Social Media Alternatives (Debate)

Moderator: Caroline Nevejan (NL)

Carlo v. Loesch/lynX (DE) from Secushare, Michael Rogers (UK) from Briar, Elijah Sparrow (USA) from Crabgrass, Spideralex (ES) from Lorea, James Vasile (USA) from Freedombox and Rena Tangens (DE) from Social Swarm
Conference Day 2: March 10 2012 Amsterdam, 13.30 – 15.30

It is not only important to critique and question existing design and socio-political realities but also to engage with possible futures. The central aim of this project is therefore to contribute and support ‘alternatives in social media’. What would the collective design of alternative protocols and interfaces look like? We should find some comfort in the small explosion of alternative options currently available, but also ask how usable these options are and how real is the danger of fragmentation. How have developers from different initiatives so far collaborated and what might we learn from their successes and failures? Understanding any early failures and successes of these attempts seems crucial. A related issue concerns funding difficulties faced by projects. Finally, in what ways does regionalism (United States, Europe, Asia) feed into the way people search for alternatives and use social media.

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