What’s the biggest social network on the Internet?
It’s not Facebook.
There’s a much bigger one. (It has more users.) It’s much older too. In fact, it’s over 40 years old.
Unlike Facebook, control of the Biggest Social Network (BSN) doesn’t lie in the hands of one company (the majority of which is owned by one person).
You can use the BSN to share photos, text, videos, pretty much any kind of file at all, provided it’s not too big. (There are file size limitations on Facebook too.)
Unlike Facebook, messages within the BSN default to private.
The file and message protocols used by the BSN are all open standards. Anyone can write software to send, process, and receive messages on the BSN. If you don’t want to write your own BSN software, then you can use software written by others (some of which is open source).
Anyone can set up their own Internet-connected server to send and receive BSN messages. Most people use BSN servers provided by businesses, and if they’re not happy with the service provided by one business, they can move to a different business (and they can take their BSN username with them).
You can send a BSN message to anyone (if you know their BSN username), but if they don’t know you, they’ll probably just ignore it. They might even set up a filter to block all future BSN messages from you.
So what is this amazing open social network that sounds like the opposite of Facebook? And how did it get so big without you noticing it?
It’s called email. Yes, Email!
P.S. My BSN username is firstname.lastname@example.org – It’s also known as an “email address.” (Don’t bother sending me spam. My spam filter is excellent.)
Image credit: network by sjcockell on Flickr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.