Is Facebook the Only Way to Stay Social? Networking Beyond the ObviousSocial Media
Social networking has become so deeply enrooted in our lives, that for many of us it is hard to imagine a day lived without checking out a Facebook or Instagram feed. We use social media to stay connected with the world, keep up with the latest news, communicate with our friends and relatives. For many, online networking is also a way to express themselves, get a message out, and find fellow-thinkers.
At the same time, social media is effectively utilized by brands and entrepreneurs to reach out to their target audiences and increase sales. Social channels have become a top priority for businesses to spread their influence beyond geographical boundaries.
The penetration of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest into people’s lives is so deep that users are naturally getting concerned with the questions of privacy and data security.
What’s wrong with Facebook?
Facebook is the largest social platform in the world with 2.13 billion monthly active users globally. Indeed, it is not easy to find a person who doesn’t have an account on Facebook these days. The same goes for companies. There are 50 million businesses using the platform worldwide.
But recently, Facebook has been getting lots of critique from its users who are suspecting that their data is not being handled with a due level of discretion. Personal data leaks have always been among the top concerns for Facebook users, but the problem truly came to the surface during the U.S. presidential campaign in 2016, when Facebook allegedly allowed Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting agency from Great Britain, to harvest personal data from its users to influence the results of the election.
The scandal made millions of Facebook devotees reconsider their loyalty to the platform and seek for the alternatives. Despite the huge popularity and massive user base, the reputation of the world’s largest social network has been severely undermined. People started to delete their Facebook accounts and criticize the platform on blogs and other social channels. A hashtag #DeleteFacebook began to appear all around the Internet, putting a big question mark on the future of Facebook.
Meanwhile, the public discontent with the most popular social network in the world is being aggravated due to other reasons. For example, the issue of control over users’ individual online assets is getting more traction as of recently. Users are frequently complaining over the lack of freedom to decide how their posts should look like and who can view them, as well as how to use specific Facebook features and whether to use them at all. The feeling of being constrained and locked up in the framework constructed by Facebook over the years is getting more distinct.
At the same time, users are getting alerted over the fact that their personal data are being constantly monitored and used for marketing purposes. The feeling of permanent exposure and insecurity always reminds you’re not at home, while many desire their personal social account to be this comfortable space where you can be a host and invite guests, rather than be a guest yourself.
No doubt, Facebook has proven to be an amazingly effective solution for online social networking, but the requirements to the platform are growing, and whether it will be flexible enough to meet them, remains to be seen. This applies not only to Facebook but all the other social networks out there as well.
But are there other options available to those who can’t imagine their lives without online social networking?
When Facebook is just not enough
Personalized social networks are getting wider acclaim as they allow users to avoid the shortcomings of commonly used social media and forget about privacy issues.
Nowadays, both private users and brands are starting to realize the necessity of integrated networking solutions. With such a variety of social networks being mostly closed ecosystems, the online communication seems to be more impeded than facilitated. That is, if you’re on Facebook, your posts cannot be seen on, say, Twitter. And if someone of your friends is on a different social channel, you have to make an account on yet another network to be able to keep in touch with the person. This clearly makes things more complicated.
When it comes to businesses, the situation is even worse. In order to reach your target audience on every social platform, you will inevitably have to create and manage several accounts – and develop a specific marketing strategy for each of them. Imagine how much time, money, and labor could be saved if only the platforms hadn’t been so dissociated.
For those who are contemplating the idea of starting a personal social network that is not constrained by any limitations, Ning provides a platform which makes it possible.
Two things that make Ning a great alternative to Facebook and other social media are:
- Simplicity: The platform can be mastered by users regardless of their technical savviness; to set up your own social website, no programming skills are required – everything is done through a simple and convenient interface.
- Flexibility: With Ning, you create not just a website. You establish a thriving online community that lives on your own terms and abides your own rules. The platform offers a multitude of tools and features that allow you to integrate everything you need in one solution: a personal or company website, blog, messaging, live chat, forum, multiple member groups, enhanced content management tools, SEO, etc. There are even several monetization options that enable you to actually make money from your social network. This level of flexibility and functionality is hard to contend with, even for the giants like Facebook.
Moreover, for those of you who are bored with the one-for-all design, you’ll be excited to know that Ning allows you to experiment with the appearance of your social networking website in almost any way possible.
Ning can fully integrate with other social media including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+. This means your content can be easily “liked” and shared on other social platforms so that you can expand your reach effectively.
And of course, you can rest assured that your private data and content will remain only in your own hands. Nobody except you is in control of the online community you’ve created.
Ready to get through with the limitations?
If online social networking is an integral part of your life, but issues like personal data leaks and lack of customization options are making you uncomfortable, you can always go beyond Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on. Create your own social network and invite your friends, relatives, colleagues, schoolmates, and other people you know; share your opinions, vivid photos, engaging videos, great music and more! Going social is not about the destination, it is about communication.
To know more about starting a successful online community, read: