IamA Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia now trying a totally new social network concept WT.Social AMA!
Hi, I'm Jimmy Wales the founder of Wikipedia and co-founder of Wikia (now renamed to Fandom.com). And now I've launched https://WT.Social - a completely independent organization from Wikipedia or Wikia. https://WT.social is an outgrowth and continuation of the WikiTribune pilot project.
It is my belief that existing social media isn't good enough, and it isn't good enough for reasons that are very hard for the existing major companies to solve because their very business model drives them in a direction that is at the heart of the problems.
Advertising-only social media means that the only way to make money is to keep you clicking - and that means products that are designed to be addictive, optimized for time on site (number of ads you see), and as we have seen in recent times, this means content that is divisive, low quality, click bait, and all the rest. It also means that your data is tracked and shared directly and indirectly with people who aren't just using it to send you more relevant ads (basically an ok thing) but also to undermine some of the fundamental values of democracy.
I have a different vision - social media with no ads and no paywall, where you only pay if you want to. This changes my incentives immediately: you'll only pay if, in the long run, you think the site adds value to your life, to the lives of people you care about, and society in general. So rather than having a need to keep you clicking above all else, I have an incentive to do something that is meaningful to you.
Does that sound like a great business idea? It doesn't to me, but there you go, that's how I've done my career so far - bad business models! I think it can work anyway, and so I'm trying.
TL;DR Social media companies suck, let's make something better.
Proof: https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/1201547270077976579 and https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/1189918905566945280 (yeah, I got the date wrong!)
UPDATE: Ok I'm off to bed now, thanks everyone!