WTS: Alternative Social Media Structures

In light of the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the larger ramifications of people realizing just how much data Facebook has on us (IT’S SO MUCH DATA), in addition to how they have not exercised much care of said data. In response to this, I’ve heard talk of people deleting Facebook.

At this point, I treat Facebook as a news source, an entertainment source, as a gossip site, as a place to make life/career announcements, as a place to plan events, as a socializing site through the messenger, and many other uses (and Facebook knows this). I’m tempted to delete it, but the pure utility of it is undeniable (and Facebook knows this too).

I want to propose a not-for profit, or co-op, or open source model for a social media site. I’m also curious about what a decentralized “social media network” would look like.

For example, what if everyone had their own private server, running the same software that could communicate using a set protocol with other servers running the software?

 Pros  Cons
  •  Control of own data
    • You could analyze your own data
  • Decentralized hosting
  • People can “opt in” for advertising (and quite honestly, you be getting paid)
  • Hacks are probably more limited in scale(?)
  • You would be able to tailor the algorithm that orders your feed
  • People could choose to install various “add-ons” for additional features (hopefully for positive things…)
  •  Pay for server space
  • Probably will need to know coding
  • You will probably be hacked and it will probably be your own fault
  • Probably a lot of effort to maintain and settings to remember
  • If a “friend” server is hacked, they will probably be able to download everything that is accessible to them

Does this make any sense? If it were a co-op or not for profit model, would people pay in for it? If it were a de-centralized, open source software / communication protocol, would enough people take the time to download it and maintain it?


Aside: To be clear, problem goes beyond Facebook and for profit social media companies. Taking control of our online data should impact internet service providers (ISP’s) as well. The amount of data our ISP’s have is unsettling. ISP’s and any company that sells supposedly anonymized data should have some kind of oversight.

WTS: an app that tells people you died

This may seem like a morbid “Want to See”, but hear me out.

I have friends across the country. I have friends I haven’t seen in years. This was made possible because of social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and technology like texting, email , and phone calls.

I’m a part of different social groups, different communities…and I can keep them apart from each other.

On top of that, in today’s age of social media, algorithms determine what we see is based on a team of programmer’s hell bent on getting us addicted to social media and finding ways to monetize us.

If I died, there are people who may know me, but may not hear news of my passing because of algorithms that don’t reflect their actual priorities/values. There are people who wouldn’t even be able to be reached by the people making the arrangements for my death.

It causes me genuine worry that death in the modern age, for all the talk of how connected we are, may hit us long after the rituals and community grieving has passed. I worry about how others would hear of my own death, but also how I would hear about the death of others.

Death and dying are a part of life.  We’re willing to plan out all the other parts of our lives, including saving for retirement, and writing a will for our material possessions. Doesn’t it make sense to plan how we’re going to tell our friends and family?

So this is my want to see: an app that emails, texts, FB messages, and DM’s everyone you know that you have died.

Let me know what you think, or if you would be interested in working on something like this with me HERE.

Don’t Forget to READ

I hear writers trying to get traction say they don’t have time to read because they spend all their time writing (and that pesky job).

I hear established writers talk about who and what they’re reading, and how it’s helping their work.

See the difference? The reading feeds the writing.

The Importance of Showing Appreciation

As I’m stepping into organizing, activism, the arts, and entrepreneurship, one of the realizations I’ve had is how many people are involved in these activities. There is no one person show.

When I’m creating and collaborating, and a lot of times seeking out guidance and advice, the people who are helping me are doing this for free. They’re taking time out of their lives to meet with me for coffee, or take a call after work. They could be doing their own work, or chores, or relaxing, or sleeping. But they chose to speak to me.

The only thing I can currently offer is taking the time to express my thanks for their energy and my appreciation.

Any success I would have in the future would be because of the people who have been willing to support me, lift me up, and pull me up. It would be egotistical, unfair, and outright dishonest to claim all the glory.

Yes, I would have worked hard to get there. Yes, I may have taken on risk. Yes, I may have had more responsibility and pressure to get there. But I didn’t do it by myself.

If I’m not gonna pay them for reaching a milestone*, than the least I can do is express my deepest thanks.


*But really, I would love to be able to pay them.

When Facebooking is Part of work

When I was working a “traditional job”, it was quite easy to keep my personal life and work life separate. (As in I kept them as separate as possible.) Now, I’m stepping into positions, roles, and growing the Asian American Literary Collective as an organization, the separation of personal life and work have become blurred. My Facebook messages (and text messages) have become a mish mash of work, friends, friends I work with, and co-workers I’m friends with.

This is awesome because it means I’m allowed to open up, be my full self, and reach my potential.

At the same time, this is raising the problem of how to “shut it down” when Facebook (and texting) is both work and social.  (Texting is a little worse because my texting app doesn’t let me “mark as unread”.)

When I’m trying to rest, seemingly harmless conversations slip into topics closer to “work” too easily. A lot of times it’s even my fault!


Here are some solutions I’ve come up with so far:

  • Not using Facebook as a “rest” website.
  • Being more okay with leaving texts on unread
  • My “rest” should not be on a screen
    • Going for a walk
    • Doing some stretches / exercises
    • Taking a 10 minute nap / meditating
    • Doing a quick journal session for an emotional check in


Have other people run into this too? Anyone else have any other ideas or suggestions?

Creation Involves TRUST

As writers and creatives, we start pieces, we refine projects, we pour our love into our work and we don’t know how they will turn out.  But we have to start and we have to trust.

During the act of creation, on a piece by piece basis, we trust that somehow, a combination of our thoughts, imagination, and random inspiration may align in a beautiful, unique, and complete way.

On a macro basis, we trust that the things we work on will be a part of our creative journey that leads somewhere. Pieces we throw away, projects we abandon, poems we find had nothing behind it, they are all as much a part of our growth/development as the pieces we finish and want to show the world.

Creativity and creation are ultimately acts of trust.

WTS: Pizza Farm

(Stolen from my roommate)

I want to see a farm  that grows/raises all the ingredients for a pizza (wheat, tomatoes, basil, milk/cheese, etc.).  This Pizza Farm would have people come over, complete the harvesting, preparation, cooking, and most importantly, EATING.

This pizza could not get any fresher.  Forget “Farm to table”.  This would be “Vine to mouth”.

Fingers crossed that as urban agriculture and aquaponics becomes more and more mature, a food-entrepreneur makes this a reality!

Let me know if this already exists OR if you have an interest in urban-ag/aquaponics OR you want to start a pizza place.

UPDATE: Turns out from my other roommate that this actually exists!  See here. So I’m updating this to Pizza Urban Ag/Aquaponics store as something I WTS.

WTS: App that combines driving and public transit navigation

As someone who lives in a Beta – City , my city’s public transit is only so-so and most people rely on driving. That being said, there are certain areas that are particularly easy to get to via public transit compared to driving. These are areas that have limited/expensive parking, and/or a lot of traffic.

In these instances, I would love to have an app that planned my route so I could drive to where parking was cheaper/more available, and then take public transit the rest of the way. Basically “park and ride” but instead of parking dedicated lots, parking on side streets, etc.

I would love the app to tell me the following:

  • How to get to your destination using only driving
  • How to get to your destination using only public transit
  • How to get to your destination maximizing time on public transit and minimizing travel time

I feel this would allow me to make an informed decision on what I should take, as well as give me an opportunity to use public transit.

Let me know if this already exists, or if you’re a programmer and want to make this happen too!