Spring '83

Spring ‘83 is a specification for a new kind of social network.

Use the link above for a more thorough explanation, but the basic premise is that the all-powerful feed disappears, replaced by a number of “boards” that are shown in a grid together, reminiscent of newspaper classifieds.

One of the original sins of social media in its current form is that we all tend to hear only the noisiest of people who post all day long and dominate the majority of feeds. On Twitter, I’ve optimized my reading list to avoid this and it’s still a problem – people who post twenty times a day are long since pruned, but even those who post twice a day drown out those that only post once a month. There’s plenty of people I’d love to hear from who I probably miss even in the rare instances they post something because they’re lost in a sea of noise.

And although social media is the worst, the problem isn’t unique to it. I always found this to be one of the major downfalls of RSS as well – even when you’re not syndicating a major newspaper, sources that post semi-regularly end up drowning out independent bloggers who write rarely by comparison. I band-aid the problem by putting some sites into a “high frequency” category, but it’s the kind of fix that leaves you thinking, “surely we can do better”.

In Spring ‘83, every board only has one slot. If an author posts multiple times, their last post is replaced with their current one – a major blow to New York Times writers who post a hundred times a day, but because unlike Twitter it doesn’t incentivize timeline flooding, feels like a much healthier solution for the rest of us.

Alternative social networks don’t have a great track record as far as success, but it continues to surprise me that there aren’t a few more that manage to foster a small, healthy community that’s nowhere near the same scale as Facebook or Twitter, but also doesn’t aim to be.

Did I make a mistake? Please consider sending a pull request.