As the New Hampshire Freedom Migration continues into 2019, the liberty movement needs a better way of communicating than facebook. Many still cling to facebook for reasons like, “that’s where everyone is”. Besides the fact that is demonstrably not true, the fact is facebook has made it increasingly difficult to actually reach people without getting your credit card and actually buying reach to the people who you already thought were connected to you or who “like” your pages.
The good news is there are multiple platforms on which people both inside and outside the Shire are meeting online that are much more useful than facebook. Of course, the more people use them, the more useful they become, so consider this your invitation. Facebook has thrown so many features into its platform (then purposely crippled their usefulness), it will require multiple other, better venues to replace it. Here are the key activist-related aspects of facebook and superior alternatives to replace each of them that are already excellent, effective, and free:
- Facebook Groups – They were never better than forums but used prolifically, “because people are on facebook”. Forums have always been better at organization. Forums can have subforums and posts can be easily moderated and moved between subforums, whereas on facebook the groups are completely separate and no cross-moderation is even possible. Worse, the search function on facebook groups is garbage. However, older forum software feels clunky today, but newer ones like the “Discourse” software that runs the Shire Forum are snappy and user-friendly – it’s a very modern forum experience and people have been loving it. New people planning to move to New Hampshire are coming there every month and posting their introductions – they want to meet you! Please visit and sign up here. You can even use existing logins from other sites like google and github to easily create your account.
- Facebook Messenger – This still one of the least-crippled aspects of facebook. They couldn’t really take away your ability to directly message people, so that’s still useful. However, it’s also centrally managed by the mega corporate monster of facebook, is unencrypted, and they’re more than happy to turn all of your chats over to law enforcement. Activists in New Hampshire’s western region of Keene have been using Telegram instead for direct and group communications. Telegram is super-useful and has been adopted and continually used here for years to help organize various activities. Similarly, encrypted texting app Signal is widely used for one-on-one communications across New Hampshire.
There’s also the New Hampshire room on the LRN.FM Discord server, perhaps the most active libertarian Discord server.
- Facebook Pages – The original idea behind facebook pages was to allow your fans to connect with your brand or organization. You’d create a page and people who “liked” the page would get updates from the page in their feeds. Over time this system seemed to get less effective. Now you are lucky if a fraction of one percent of the people who like your page will see your posts. Of course, Facebook will happily charge you to reach your full number of likes – something you originally got for free. To replace facebook pages I recommend the much more effective and decentralized Mastodon platform. You can easily create a Mastodon account on the server of your choice. There are thousands of servers from which to choose, but many libertarians are posting on the Liberdon server. Here’s what the Free Keene page looks like on Liberdon. Or, if you know what you’re doing, you can just start your own server. Because it’s decentralized and federated, you can still connect your server to most of the other servers out there, unless they don’t want you or you don’t want them connected to you.
- Facebook Events – Yet another crippled feature that once was useful for making people aware of events. Now it’s rare people will see event invitations on facebook in the first place. Frequently events are held where despite being on facebook hardly anyone who attends will say they saw it there. Telegram has been much more effective at communicating events, especially when tied into a Telegram bot that links a Google Calendar so whenever an event is coming up, the bot posts the event details in the relevant chat room for the activists as a handy reminder.
By no means is that an exhaustive list of alternatives to replace facebook and do what facebook once did, and better than facebook. There are many other useful platforms, but these have been working well for us so far. Be part of the solution and join us on the alternatives. Start with the Shire Forum. It’s free and an effective way to communicate with people both inside and outside of New Hampshire.