This article originally appeared on JustinWedes.com
About the Author: Justin Wedes is a media activist and community organizer, and co-founder of the Detroit Water Brigade. He has used social media extensively in his work, but has come to believe that most social networks only exploit their users for advertising revenue and surveillance without returning any tangible benefits. In this essay, he describes why he’s quitting Facebook to join the new social network Tsū:
I’m busting out of the Facebook factory, friends. I’ve just had enough! I’ve had enough of the endless comments, click-bait memes, and other mental noise pollution. The whole thing feels demeaning now: I am more than an aggregation of my “friends”, a collection of photos, a series of Facebook event pages, a few “likes”. I’ve spent way too many hours pushing pixels around…
I am a man. And I deserve to own and be paid for my creative work, not to be turned into an attractive canvas for someone else’s advertising.
What do I mean? I’ll give you an example: when I was in college, I managed and played in a few bands that performed on the weekends. Every student organization and small business in town begged us to play their events without pay, for “exposure”. I politely told them that my band was professional and here’s our rate. And I paid my musicians on the spot, even if I had to front the money myself from a heel-dragging venue or club. I respected their work, and in doing so I earned their loyalty. Cats showed up on time and ready for my gigs.
Facebook is the epitome of the “exposure” hoax: it plays on our vanity and desire to be liked by many people, at almost any cost. Having administered several large Facebook pages myself, I can tell you that if you don’t pay for “reach” now on Facebook not even a fraction of your fans will see your posts. On top of that, the cost to every user in time and energy is profit to Facebook: they made $2.6 billion last quarter alone. They’re buying up land around Silicon Valley to build their own villages. They’re running experiments on our emotions by altering what we see in our news feeds. If they were a medieval kingdom, the serfs would have revolted by now. Enough, I’m out.
I tried to work with Facebook, even running a campaign last year called Pay Me Facebook calling on the social media company to start compensating users for posting original content. At that time, no viable alternative really existed. Now, the thousands of people who joined our campaign have somewhere new to go.
So where am I going? Well, the good news is there’s a growing alternative called Tsū that is just like Facebook with one major difference: you get to own and keep all your content and get paid for it by sharing 90% of the ad royalties the company earns. My organization, the Detroit Water Brigade, joined Tsū recently, and we’ve already earned nearly $800 in royalties – and donations from other Tsū users that gift their royalties to us. That’s $800 that would have gone into the pocket of Mark Zuckerberg & Co. that is now bailing out low-income families in Detroit.
Tsū is invite-only but free to all, so you must join under an existing user. By joining under the Brigade, you are already helping Detroiters: 1/3rd of the revenue you generate will go automatically to our organization. Just by posting original content and interacting with other users, you are helping families in Detroit by redistributing ad revenue from corporations to people in need.
So adiós, Facebook. It was nice while it lasted, but I’m spent. You can find me in Detroit.
PS – If you decide to make the jump with me, let me know and I’ll send you a nice welcome message on Tsu!