Top 5 decentralized social networks

Facebook and Twitter are undeniably popular, but they're not the only social media platforms to consider. Tom Merritt discusses five alternative social media networks that focus on user freedom.

Top 5 decentralized social networks

Lots of people talk about quitting Facebook, but few people actually do. Lots of people wish Twitter was a friendlier place, but what's the alternative? Well, there are loads of decentralized social networks out there that put the user first and foremost--some of them even make money and share it with the users. Here are five of the top decentralized social networks. 

  1. Diaspora: It's been around for awhile and has more than a million users. Servers are independently run, and users own their data.
  2. Minds: This open source network has more than two million users and prides itself on a lack of censorship. The network focuses on news feeds, blogs, groups, and general discovery features. It uses peer-to-peer advertising and allows you to monetize your content.
  3. Mastodon: Probably the most familiar and most similar to Twitter, it operates on open source servers and has a 500 character limit. It uses anti-abuse tools, and moderators may step in quick.
  4. Sola: You don't follow anyone with this network. AI and user reaction spread information, trying to match quality content with people who would be interested in it. Any user can host a Sola node. It prides itself on being immune to blocking and censorship. Sola splits money it makes from ads, user payments, and partnerships with all of its users.
  5. Manyverse: This one stores data on user devices instead of servers and syncs using a platform called Scuttlebutt--this makes it usable offline. Data can even be synced directly between devices over Bluetooth.

The list doesn't end there either. Keep an eye out for SocialX, Memo, Steemit, and more. It's not impossible that one of these days, one of these networks will start gaining on the big companies. Even if they don't, you might find some advantages in the features and control you have with these networks as they are.

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Image: iStockphoto/metamorworks