Quitter.no: The Social Media Giant You Didn’t Know Was There
How can you not love that symbol for Quitter.no/GNU Social? Hail Satan!
My distaste for social media in general is something I’m well noted for. Notorious, really. I hate the shit. Not that I hate talking to people, but it all just seems like a game. It feels like a return to high school. It’s a popularity contest, in the end. For varying reasons that don’t avail themselves of certain alternatives (and they are reasons you’d never guess), I often engage in some upkeep of each of these social channels. Facebook. Twitter (the least of all evils). Google+, even. And Instagram…ho boy…if only there were a great alternative to that. When I get on Instagram, I feel like it’s back to the old BBS days when I was teenager and all I wanted to do was see pictures on my computer screen. I love Instagram (in concept, not as a company).
But again, I hate social media. And it goes beyond the whole “let’s go back to high school” vibe that it offers. There’s also the fact that these sites–particularly Facebook–operate against my own ethical code. They are centralized databases (they operate on servers). They are privacy infringing. They are security infringing. I’m pretty sure they happily work with governments. And no matter how many times I type in “anarchy” or “anarchism” into Facebook, Google, or Twitter, it seems their algorithms push upon me the exact opposite of those words. I’ve never once gotten a search recommendation or ad that are even remotely related (and I should have, I know personally that some blatantly anarchist companies have advertised on Twitter)…and I type those words out so often it should be the only thing in my feed.
And I really wish it was, too. Instead I’m “friends” with supposed anarchists online, but all I get from them is political bullshit. “Vote for this!“. Hell, they’re recommending voting in the first place! If Facebook, or Google, or whoever knew anything about me, and if they’re algorithms were any good, that shit couldn’t possibly show up. But it does.
Anyway, what I’m about to describe doesn’t necessarily solve that problem of me having to see muprons (spelled correctly) share such drivel, but it does solve many of the other problems I have with social media.
Enter the social media “killer”: Quitter.no.
Okay, technically it’s “GNU Social“, and Quitter.no is just a derivative of the technology (there’s also gnusocial.no, quitter.se, etc.), but for the sake of this article, I’ll just talk about Quitter.no, because that’s where I reside within the GNU Social universe. And this is not going to be a deeply technical article on the matter.
But I think it’s important to talk about Quitter.no. Effectively, it’s a Twitter-clone microblogging platform that is federated (which has nothing to do with “Federal”), completely open-source, and isn’t run by a company that is only interested in pleasing shareholders (instead of actual users, a la Twitter). And it’s really well done, too. Have a look at my Profile Page…
Nice, huh? Looks almost exactly like Twitter, and more or less has all of the functionality that people have come to love about Twitter: You can tweet (or “quip” as it’s called there), send Direct Messages, favorite things, “Retweet”, share pictures, use hashtags, all of that. But it even has two advantages over Twitter. For one, it has “Groups”, which allows you to have your own little Quitter.no within Quitter.no (much like Facebook groups operates).
And the real beauty is…Quitter.no doesn’t have a 140 character limit. It has a 1000 character limit. Perfect. Not too short, not too long. Personally, I’ve been dying for Twitter to increase their own character limit, as I think it is much needed. But much of my justification for wanting Twitter to have a larger character limit than 140 comes from having a popular, well-known alternative to Facebook available. Twitter can become a Facebook-clone (functionally) for all I care. I just want Zuckerberg out of business.
But then the changes to Twitter aren’t really necessary. Quitter.no is delivering the goods on most fronts, it just doesn’t have the “Network Effect“…as in, there aren’t a lot of people using it yet (for some, this is important). But hey, Corey Doctorow, Leo LaPorte, Kevin Marx, the Internet of Shit account, and myself and a couple of other people I know are on their now. So feel free to join up. Hey, it’s free!
SIDE NOTE: Perhaps you’re thinking this is a flash in the pan? Maybe you think Quitter.no will just be the next Peach or Ello that just gets hyped up by the tech press and then does nothing two weeks later. While the GNU Social technology of Quitter.no has only been around since 2014, it has a massive development community around it, and GNU-based social media has been a feverish desire by many in the crypto economy and FLOSS space. So I don’t see it going away anytime soon. At the very least, it’s certainly not a flash in the pan, and because it is open source and federated, it could just get picked up and used by others if the main devs abandon it. Unlike other tech journalists, I’ve learned to be very careful in what I recommend people check out website and service wise (though Quitter.no would say they’re not a service, that’s fine).
I will be chiming in on there from time to time, and I’ll also be sharing all of my content on Quitter.no, as well. And if you’re wondering about being able to use it on your mobile device, it actually works great as a mobile website. Very dark and very slick.
These open source, federated, non-corporate-run communication alternatives are incredibly important today. If you’ve listened to my tech podcast, Sovryn Tech, over the years, you’d know why.
And I know what some readers of the Dark Android Blog are thinking, “Quitter.no says that they are anti-capitalist! This is terrible!” Relax. Put on the big boy pants and get over it. First off, if you don’t realize that people can be anti-capitalism and still support free markets…I suggest checking out another website. But also, if you’re completely incapable of seeing the value in what others develop regardless of their ideology…well…how much do you suck ass at understanding markets in the first place? A lot, obviously.
SIDE NOTE: How well does this work for a device with a Dark Android setup? Perfectly. Just run the mobile site for Quitter.no in your favorite open source web browser (IceCat, Orfox, etc.) and go to town on it. It’s 100% DAPS.
I don’t expect a mass exodus from Facebook and Twitter to Quitter.no overnight. Really, Quitter.no is still a little rough around the edges for the average person. But then I see that as a good thing. The problem with the aforementioned “Network Effect” is that it drags in the dolphins with the tuna. It brings the nincompoops along with the people that actually care about having freedom and resiliency of communications that services like Quitter.no provide. Personally? I’d rather just let the tuna get caught up in the net so the dolphins can swim free.
And to take the analogy to ridiculousness…come swim with me at Quitter.no, and perhaps we can engage in the “Three Dolphin Technique” (just kidding)! My username is “@Sovryn” (there’s a social media icon with the link for it at the top of the site, too). Woo!