Today I was asked by a friend how they could best leave facebook but still keep in touch with coworkers, family, friends, and others. Having done this myself I know how difficult of a decision it is.

Social Media

The first problem one faces is how to keep in touch with a large group of people. It is tempting to follow them on Instagram, but it is owned by Facebook. Twitter is a lesser of two evils but if your concern is that one large company can monitor what you say and to whom, then a decentralized platform is for you. There are a lot of options but the most appealing to me is Mastodon. It is decentralized (lives of lots of different internet-connected computers around the world) and federated (all connected to each-other via standard protocols. This means that you can set up your own server, have your own rules, and connect your community to over 2.2 million other Mastodon users. It is controlled by one person (the developer) but is open source, so anyone can copy it and make changes. There are other social media networks that make lofty promises about privacy and security but none has as large of a user base or apps available for all the most popular devices and operating systems. The app itself is a lot like Twitter, where short messages, photos, videos, and GIFs are shared to a timeline. Inviting everyone you know is as easy as inviting them to any other social network. There are thousands of servers to choose from or you can set up your own (I can help with that).

Messaging

Many people also struggle with loosing Facebook Messenger. There are nice-looking options like WhatsApp and Telegram but both are fundamentally flawed. There are only a few alternatives to choose from but Signal stands out. It is encrypted by default, replaces you text messaging app (like Messenger can), and has voice & video call capabilities. Just like the alternatives, there is a robust group chat feature that would be perfect for staying in touch with close friends and family.

I’ve also heard of people considering using Slack as a friends and family communication/media tool but this is not a good idea for a couple reasons. One is that you’re leaving it in the control of a single corporation and the other is that after a certain point, not everything will be saved. Nobody would want to loose access to old family photos. If you are considering this anyway, I recommend looking at Rocket.Chat it does everything and more. The only downside is that you have to set up your own server or use their cloud servers.


Please let me know if there’s anything I missed or could better explain.