Ephemeral Social Media: Social Networks Up Next?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by Haltus Kain, Feb 9, 2015.



  1. I would use an ephemeral social networking website.

  2. I would stick with traditional social networking websites.

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  1. HaltusKain

    HaltusKain Well-Known Member

    Curious what you all think of this.

    Ephemeral social media is any social media that basically auto-deletes itself after a set amount of time.

    Snapchat seems to be the most popular example of this; basically a mobile texting app in which messages up to 10 seconds before they're deleted. Initially it sounds like it was mostly just an avenue for kids to get away with things they would otherwise come to regret, like "sexting", but over time it attracted an audience of... regular people, using it for regular conversations. :eek:

    Why? It could be anything from the aforementioned covering one's own ass upon making a stupid decision; to protecting yourself from the stranger who just found the phone you lost following a text message with your forgetful wife who texted you asking where the spare key is hidden.

    The point is, more and more people are interested in cleaning up their digital footprint.

    This is old news though - I'd wager most of you are already familiar Snapchat, and so far it seems to be a mobile-messenger dominated trend. My question is what's next?

    Our online rights are constantly being threatened with things like SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, etc, and while folks have made it clear that we DO NOT want that; every time the proposal gets shot down, it just gets revised, renamed, refocused on a different right... and each time the outcry against it is quieter, because people stop caring. So, it's only a matter of time.

    There's also been a disturbing trend lately in which employers are demanding social media profile login info, so they can get into an employees account and see everything, whether or not it was "visible to the public" or "friends only" or "just me". Thankfully there's been a push against that unethical practice, but like CISPA n' friends, I'm sure it's a weed that will find a way to grow back.

    I have a facebook profile, which I use to keep in touch with friends and family. I was skimming it the other day to see just how much was on that thing, and it still had posts that were made when I first started my account in 2007!

    Got me thinking... what benefit is there in preserving content that old? Those conversations have long since been forgotten by their intended audience. The only purpose it could possibly serve is for some prying eye to try to find dirt on me; be it a potential employer, "big brother", or even -and I hope we never fall this low- a court of law.

    So, I slapped some macros together in Razer Synapse to help automate the process (seriously, THANK YOU Razer! ...made what would be a several-day long project take just a couple hours!) and proceeded to delete, untag, unlike, and remove from my news feed every action I've made with my account from (Aug?) 2007 to Feb 1st 2015; and will periodically do a mini-version of the same to prevent any content from getting much more than a month or so old.

    So... I've kind of manually made my Facebook a Snapchat-like profile.

    ...which made me wonder is there's an actual social network website geared toward ephemeral content? Not just a mobile messenger like Snapchat, but an actual "facebook" that can auto-delete anything done by the user, on timers set by the user.

    Some Googling has revealed that either such a service does not exist, or that my search skills are perhaps not the best. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

    If any of you know otherwise, I'd love to hear about it!

    If something like this doesn't exist... do you think it will soon? With services like Snapchat, demand definitely seems to be increasing.

    ...any of you a web designer and want to become the next Zuckerberg? :D
    Mapsle likes this.
  2. kajira

    kajira Mother of Gaming

    Personally, I love SnapChat and my kids and I use it all the time. It's a great way to share things without worrying about who's stalking it on the net 10 years from now.

    I do have a FaceBook account, but I almost never use it because I DO worry about what people could find and use the information for. My FB is almost entirely stupid stuff like quiz answers and things that I don't mind posting publicly, and I only check it maybe once every 2-3 weeks (if that) unless a family member says "hey did you see ..."

    However, if there were something that operated like FB and deleted after a set time like SC, then I'd totally join it. hehehe :)
  3. HaltusKain

    HaltusKain Well-Known Member

    Pretty much my thoughts. I mean I've never had any crazy photos on my page that show me doing drugs or something legitimately disqualifying; but I've gotten into plenty of philosophical, religious, political etc discussions with my friends there, and we tend not to censor ourselves in those kinds of discussions because we know the person on the other end isn't going to get all offended over some petty comment that doesn't adhere to their side of the coin, whatever that coin may be. Taken out of context, many of those posts fall pretty far short of the overly politically correct standard that people are being held to more and more in not just their professional life, but their personal one.

    ...and I don't want an expression of my political views in 2007 to get me rejected or fired from a job; or even being interpreted under some new law as something akin to a hate crime, and coming back with legal consequences.

    I've never actually used Snapchat, but it's always intrigued me, and I've only just recently started seeing it as having potential in legitimate cyber security; and not just some way for a kid to show another kid his or her junk without worrying about it getting posted online.

    Ideally, something of a hybrid between a traditional social network and a 100% ephemeral on would be best; giving users the freedom to choose a default life-span for all of their account activity, and further customizing from there: for example, private messages will be deleted 30 days after posting; OR 2 days after being read by the recipient(s). Stuff like that. But at the same time, opting in to make certain content permanent, like certain photos or status updates... but again the default should always be ephemeral, with 'non-perishable' content being something that specifically needs to be opted into.

    Another great feature could be a panic button, used to delete all content in one click, except for a few very basic exceptions (also customizeable :blush:) like the current profile picture. Even triggers that would automate the panic button, like a login attempt from an unrecognized computer.

    I'm ranting :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

    Point is, I don't really feel like I'm in full control of my content with current options like Facebook, and now that I'm conscious of that, it's bugging the hell out of me.
  4. kajira

    kajira Mother of Gaming

    I agree completely. Add into the mix that other people can post things of you / about you on Facebook and then tag you, it means you then have minimal control about what other people are putting up that can affect you. I think that's the part that bothers me the most.
    Haltus Kain likes this.
  5. Rodetovenaar

    Rodetovenaar Active Member

    Pretty much the only reason I even got a facebook account to begin with was to keep in touch with the people I served with as we all went our different ways. I'd be much more in favor of something more ephemeral but able to fill the same function. It should also inform you that it will self-destruct in 5 seconds, Mission Impossible style.

    xBLASPHEMICx Member

    If you ever feel a need to have your posts removed before someone "discovers" them then no social network will ever be the place for you. Snapchat isn't foolproof. Not by a long shot. People screen cap things all the time.

    As for your worry about security and employers having full access to employees profiles, those are NOT bad things. Data encryption exists but it is not intended for social media. It is for direct transfer of data between individuals. There are many secure channels that users can access to share encrypted data. Employers have a right to ensure their employees follow policy. Being able to gain access in no way implies that they will demand weekly checks of employee profiles without sound reason. For example, say your manager goes on a shooting spree at a school. He or she is on tv and you can identify the shooter. Because you require social network info as part of your company's security protocol you can access their profile and forward vital information to law enforcement agencies. That is a worst case scenario but also a viable one.

    The current state of the web is one without regulation. It's a veritable Wild West of sorts filled with outlaws and in dire need of some kind of order. Do I feel that any one government should control or regulate the web? Not at all. That would simply not work. Should a governing body similar to NATO or the UN be instilled? Yes, absolutely. Something without borders not bound by national law or credo. Something that currently does not exist. Something else that does not exist is an ephemeral social network. Closest thing to it would be using a PGP key system for your friends or whoever and setting your server to nuke everything once a week or month. That is not a social network, however. It's basic data exchanging.

    The difference being that a social network has posts and other content that are meant to be shared. Either publically or privately inside of each individual user's approved circles. You have complete control of who sees your posts. Facebook, G+, Path, and pretty much every network out there all have varying levels of privacy available to you. You have to manually set that up is all. Path is one of my most used as it does not aggregate content. Ello also to a degree. I'm not worried about my info being stolen as I never post anything I'd ever be embarrassed about. Sensitive data like financial or real state, I have the common sense NOT to store online anywhere.

    To me, it's self defeating to join a social network and then set everything to private. That's the exact opposite of what social network even means. People refuse to accept their own responsibility though. They blame the social networks for being social. That blaming and complaining has lead once completely open platforms to institute heavy "privacy" options. I think it's ridiculous. By allowing those options they empower anonymity. Empowering anonymity only leads to faceless nameless monsters running rampant throughout otherwise informative and entertaining platforms. Don't believe me? Think back to when Facebook absolutely required real names to use the site. Before all the whining. Before all the complaining. I joined in 2006. I remember. It wasn't 'FOR THE LIKES'. It wasn't risked with spam posts about new monthly charges or free trips to disneyworld. It was about my friends and coworkers. Sharing things with each other. Throwing virtual sheep back and forth. No trolls.

    Meanwhile, in another part of the web, other networks like MySpace were dying. Being destroyed and overrun by trolls. /B/oards gained momentum during this time. A melting pot of nameless faceless cretons to come together and commune amongst themselves sharing all the latest depravities they discovered online that day. In time that world grew too small for them and they needed places to go. To spread into. Worlds collided. Complainers, monsters. Casual users, these are the netizens of our current age.

    I think a network with posts that auto delete over time would be a bad thing. Why do I think that? Because humans gonna human, that's why. Meaning that once you tell humans they can't have an eternal online archival shrine to their lulz they will guaranteed find a way to do exactly that. Archive everything. Save everything. It would be a huge challenge to get around whatever security would be in place. It would be a mess.

    TL: DR; PGP keys are your friend.
  7. HaltusKain

    HaltusKain Well-Known Member

    I don't think you're understanding the motivation for an ephemeral social network.

    Would it be okay with you if your employer approached you and said:
    "It's come to our attention that when you were in middle-school, you had a face-to-face private discussion with a friend of yours about controversial topics including creationism vs evolution. During that conversation, several comments of yours were identified as being potentially offensive: I'm sorry, but you're fired."

    ...no? Then why would you be okay with that happening on a social network? Cuz that's where we're headed.

    You talk about using someone's posts to tip off law enforcement that they're about to go on a shooting... an ephemeral network wouldn't get in the way of that. Their public post about committing an atrocity would still be posted; you just wouldn't be able to go back and see what they had for dinner several months ago. With that kind of post, what's important is how it's being reacted to immediately after it's posted, and the focus of an ephemeral network would be exactly that: reacting to posts while they're still current.

    This isn't about covering up embarrassing posts, it's about being able to have real conversations with people you care about without having to worry about your opinion being scrutinized by someone who is by no means an intended participant in that conversation, like an employer or government official.

    Security settings, circles, etc don't mean squat if they can just log into your account and see it all anyway. Or worse, if they can just go directly to the social network itself and say "give me a copy of all of Haltus Kain's posts, private messages, and 'like' history between now and the creation of his account." If that sounds unrealistic, look up "CISPA".

    Privacy is something to be protected, whether or not the actions done in private are incriminating. Especially considering that what is and isn't socially acceptable is constantly changing - things were said not 10 years ago that didn't get anyone's feathers ruffled that, if said today, could cause serious professional or at least social consequences. I don't want what I say today to be held to ten-years-from-now's standards.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  8. Mapsle

    Mapsle Well-Known Member

    I clean my wall at least once a week - it´s like a desert there.
    Some people think it´s a fake because there´s hardly any info on there...

    I Like your idea :)

    You might wanna start adding Tl;dr to your long posts there :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
  9. HaltusKain

    HaltusKain Well-Known Member

    I just need to learn to type more concisely in the first place. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
    Mapsle likes this.

    xBLASPHEMICx Member

    None of what you're wanting is social in the sense that it would be content worth sharing. You're wanting to be able to say whatever you want, no matter how offensive, without any kind of consequences. Like I initally stated, anything you feel could be embarrassing should simply never be posted. Or said aloud, if you want to compare to offline. There are IRC channels for anonymous rants or discussions like you seem fixated on. Those exist for folk who would look at a computer screen as some kind of security blanket. That seems like your best option.
  11. kajira

    kajira Mother of Gaming

    @xBLASPHEMICx You seem to think that people don't change or evolve through their lifetime ... I've *ABSOLUTELY* had conversations when I was 20 years younger where I supported one position or another that I would never even dream of supporting now. I've changed, I've evolved, I've grown, my opinions have changed, my views have changed. It's natural. So, why should someone who knows me now be able to look up something I said/posted 20-30 years ago, just because it was a social network?

    Sure, I could try to go back and find all those conversations and delete my posts - but that's way more work than I should ever have to put in. It would be nice if I could have conversations that I was passionate about, but know that they'd also be deleted after a set period of time so that if I ever changed / grew then new contacts wouldn't assume that I still held those same beliefs. This could apply to politics, religion, social issues (like gay marriage, abortion, etc) or support/discontent with military actions.

    Also, there were many, many years where I felt that I could never participate in any kind of social media because it was all just "out there" ... except, I had an ex-husband that I was trying to keep away from my children because he was in a federal prison and I had sole custody but he kept trying to harass us. Maybe it could've been a little different if I could have a small circle of friends and know that the information would be gone/inaccessible quickly. Then I could still share special moments / photos with friends and family who were far away without worrying that it would just be "out there" forever for him to look up.

    There are many reasons why someone may want to participate in a social setting where the content doesn't just sit around forever and ever. They're not creating a blog or a timeline or self-advertisement, they're trying to share "the moment" with people they're close to *at that time* ... I don't see why any future friends/acquaintances should have any business looking up years past to see what you did or said with former friends. That's "stalker'ish" ... why not just prevent it altogether and have it disappear after a time?

    So yeah, I get it - I'm still heavily in favor of the ephemeral social network concept.

    xBLASPHEMICx Member

    Why not use common sense and simply not post such things? If I post something idiotic like me tea bagging my GF's mum while she sleeps, I'd know within hours after the fact that was a dumb thing to post online. It doesn't take years to grow. Social networks are meant to be social. Period. I've already mentioned various options with the kind of security you seem to think validates posting whatever and not being responsible for said posts. At the end of the day, you can't expect a service to cover up things you have guilt trips over later on. There's no growing or evolving stage. I'm a realist and self aware of not only myself as an individual but myself as a contributing member of society. I have understood, from childhood, that every single action has consequences. It is no one else's rrsponsibility but my own to assure that I always, no matter on or off line, behave in an honest manner. Doing so ensures that 5, 10, 20, or however many years go by that I never once feel ashamed or embarrassed about anything I have shared. I only a few months ago downloaded my full Twitter archive to give it a skim. Was curious about my very first tweet. It was "turning left". That was from 2009. I browsed through my history. Saw tweets I posted while drunk. While falling in love. While falling out of love. Angry tweets. Happy tweets. The full spectrum. Not once. Not even for a millisecond. Did I think "uh oh! I better delete that! What if someone sees that I find sicario videos fascinating?" Not even once. You mentioned sharing the moment. Social networks consider your whole life a moment. So theyre formatted to archive it. Because the majority of users don't mind them doing so. If a network were to auto remove my content is personally consider that giving up my control. If that's fine for you? Ok. But to me, that is not a good thing. I'm not so irresponsible that I need a social network to let me pine for likes and expect it to clean up any questionable or asinine things I may have posted. Clean your own mess. Or better, don't make a mess at all. I'm 42. Things I've written or posted from when I as in my teens are readily available and I feel no shame about of them.

    For what you want, maybe try Path. As far as social networks go, it's a very private one. Has a friend list cap of 50. If you still think you'd need the network itself to curate your content to such a tiny audience, then you really should stop: step back, and rethink your content altogether.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  13. HaltusKain

    HaltusKain Well-Known Member

    You are not listening.

    None of that is a concern here; those are not the issues we are frustrated with, nor is that the kind of thing we're hoping to start doing through access to an ephemeral social network.

    We're saying "I'm hungry..." and you're replying with "Well you should have peed before we left!"

    It doesn't work that way.

    xBLASPHEMICx Member

    I understand perfectly. Let's use your example to expand on that.

    "I'm hungry!"

    "Ok. Go cook something"

    "No. When I say I'm hungry you're supposed to make me something!"

    "Isn't it your responsibility?"

    "I said I'm hungry!"

    What you want already exists in IRC and numerous other places. It will never and makes no sense to ever be a "social network" because what you are wanting simply isn't social. You have to also consider how difficult it would be to have people think exactly how you do and then have those same people migrate away to your new network. In short: won't happen.
  15. HaltusKain

    HaltusKain Well-Known Member

    Then we have done a poor job communicating what it is we're frustrated with and what would be an ideal solution.

    You and I are not talking about the same thing. I tried to illustrate that with the hunger analogy, but even that didn't hit your noggin the way I intended. I know you think you're on topic, but you're not.

    At this point I'm not sure how to remedy that - it's like we're talking through a language barrier. I invite you to reread my posts, being careful not to assume any motives that weren't specifically stated; or tone, which is the bane of written communication.

    I'd also be happy to answer any questions if there's something you're unclear on.

    I apologize for the frustration - communication hiccups suck.

    xBLASPHEMICx Member

    It's not so much a miscommunication as it is a simple debate. You've provided one point of view and I've provided another. That's the beauty of data exchange. Presenting varying views on a topic allows others who happen across the shared information to either learn more or help form their own opinions on the matter. I haven't checked fb in a while for this setting but I know it once was there. You could toggle what year to stop at. You could also toggle not show life events. The life timeline thing already has options. There are also friend groups which you can if you feel the need to curate your content to specific groups. The actual purging of content should never be done by the network. That leaves far too many openings for malicious behavior. One determined individual could incorporate a clickable profile injection that would setup all user profiles who clicked to completely be erased. It's either you have content that is gone by a set time per post (Snapchat) or you have the standard aggregated feeds. That protects your content and the companies behind the networks. IRC has log management tools. You can easily wipe out chunks of logs. Even set a macro to do it. Say every 15th month or so clear out 5 of those month's logs. These things already exist and the userbases as far as my experience show no signs of ever wanting to mingle. I truly understand what you want, but you have to know its not feasible.
  17. HaltusKain

    HaltusKain Well-Known Member

    We're debating apples and oranges (if you'll allow me another attempt at an analogy). I'll acknowledge that the topics are similar, but they are distinct, and the insight you're providing about apples -despite being good insight about apples- is not applicable to our oranges.

    Seriously, I am in full agreement with your posting advice; and I never -ever- post something that I would later be embarrassed about or ashamed of etc. ...but that doesn't address our concerns; nor would the proposed solution be any less social.

    xBLASPHEMICx Member

    The user base it would attract would be less social. Surely you see that? It would become a veritable gutter of the web filled with creepers and paranoid tin foil hat wearers all trying to out secure each other. That isn't speculation. It's fact. You can see all the proof you want of that fact by looking at boards and IRC channels compared to Facebook and Twitter profiles. Both have their anon trolls, of course. But the boards are where there are users who do not use anonymity for fun or being an annoyance. They feel empowered by it. Like, logging on gives them an escape from their "real lives". That is not ok. There should be NO differential between the two. Whenever I see someone post something racist and they follow it with "relax its just Twitter" I always wonder when did that excuse become some kind of free pass to say whatever and no longer fear or respect being reprimanded? It's that darker community that would flock to a network such as you're wanting. Which in turn would cause the general user base to look at that and be instantly permanently turned off. There are tons of examples of failed networks. Some social and others security based, that have all come and gone through the years. You say you want a small circle. Create that circle on a privately hosted network. You can easily set one up. I've built six in the past year. Have some initiative and create one. See how well it works out. I don't mean that in a condescending way, I mean build one, invite your friends to it, and then see if they will choose to use it over their current social networks or IM services. Those who do? There you go. Your own private network (key word, private as it isn't a social network) to share all you want with your select friends and have no worry about a permanent digital record of activities. All of the options you want already exist. They have for many years. They haven't and most likely won't ever catch on though. Can't reinvent the wheel. That applies perfectly to this discussion. People may want to try and reinvent it. They may even modify it a bit. But the original core design has and will always remain the same as day one. Why would a user with hundreds of active friends and thousands of photos suddenly uproot themselves so to speak to reduce their audience? Google Plus is a perfect example. It is better and more secure than Facebook in every single way. But it is not even 1/10th the size. In this case, if you build it they will not come. As for your own personal use though, you've many options at your disposal. If you ever need help with doing such things I'd be happy to.
  19. kajira

    kajira Mother of Gaming

    I've read everything you've had to say, and as @Haltus Kain has said you have valid points -- they're just not the least bit on topic to where the two of us were going with this. There is no debate, as you say... because there was no initial understanding to begin with.

    The one point I will pick out specifically -- you keep mentioning IRC, but that assumes ALL parties are online at the exact same time to share all their information, their daily funnies, their photos, their anecdotal stories about their kids or whatever else. Talk about unrealistic. Definitely NOT an option for people who just want to share mundane daily information but who don't want it up for grabs years down the road.

    So, at this point, I'll just leave this in @Haltus Kain 's hands, because I'm not willing to start debates over every single thing you've said and point out why it doesn't apply. Suffice it to say, the points are not parallels. So, I'll just bow out.

    Keep in mind that I am not young, most especially not by "internet standards" the things you mention are all things where I've "been there, done that" for more than 30 years. Obviously those are not the kinds of services we're attempting to discuss or I would've mentioned them myself. ;)

    xBLASPHEMICx Member

    My point was that the kind of options you want already exist and have been tried as networks. None have made it. You a member of Ello? I am. It's a graveyard. Right on its signup page it states clearly that they will NEVER hand over user info to any third party. Ever. Do you think that guaranteed security brought new users over? I find it incredibly odd that you lot think rewording existing platforms will suddenly make them appealing. Put a shiny coat of paint on a turd and it's still a turd. You a member of Path? Again, I am. Graveyard. Networks built around keeping social interactions while installing stiff security protocol. It simply doesn't work.
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