Goodbye Facebook

It’s time to say goodbye to Facebook. Here are a few reasons why:

Fortunately there is an impressive alternative to Facebook . . . a social network that respects your privacy while giving you a broad range of useful features. At https://mewe.com you will find all the whistles and bells that make it easy to connect and collaborate with family, friends and a growing number of organizations.

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MeWe user home screen

Here you see my home screen. In addition to my timeline of posts you can see my photostream on the right. These aren’t all my photos. They include photos from the people who have posted to my timeline. On the left, the Chats box lists people I have connected with so I can easily start a conversation with them. In addition to adding comments to a post, MeWe supports text, voice and even video chatting. When viewing MeWe in a web browser on your desktop computer, you may not have the tools (webcam, speakers and mic) to take advantage of these features. No problem! MeWe also has free apps for iOS and Android devices (phones and tablets) so you can chat any which way you want.

When I first created my MeWe account, I was wandering around the site when all the sudden I heard my cousin’s voice talking to me. Whoa! Next thing I knew she had turned on her camera and we were enjoying a video conversation. If you think Facetime is easy, you haven’t seen MeWe at work.

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Sample MeWe group screen

MeWe supports groups, pages and even events. Groups are quite impressive. A group can be open – anyone can join, selective – must be approved by the owner or administrator, or private – by invitation only. Group settings include things like group description, membership permissions, notifications, preferences and group chats.

MeWe supports hashtags for organizing content. You can see the tag list in the right column of the group screen above. Use the hash mark (#) before a word in the content of a post and MeWe will add that hashtag to your #Tags box in the sidebar. Group members just tap a hashtag in the #Tags box and all posts with that tag will be displayed in their timeline. Each group offers features for saving photos, videos and files within the group. It also supports online events. These features are a dream-come-true for genealogical societies and other associations wanting to provide online activities. Using the group chat feature, societies can provide one-on-one support or take advantage of these features for online-only special interest groups.

By now I’m sure you are wondering how MeWe can afford to make all this available to us at no cost. Well, it’s not totally free. In the top right corner of the screen above you will find the MeWe Store. Here you can purchase emoji packages for a whopping $.99 per package. There’s also a Secret Chat feature available for mobile devices providing secure, encrypted chats with other MeWe users. Every member gets 8GB of file storage for free. If you need more space, it can be purchased through the MeWe Store. If you want to create a page to promote your business, society or whatever, it will cost you $2.99/month.

It may have a funny name, but it won’t take long before you realize what an amazing service MeWe.com offers its users. Once you create your account, stop by and say hi at https://mewe.com/p/moultriecreekgazette.  See you soon!

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The Moultrie Creek Gazette page at MeWe.com

MeWe Update

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My MeWe home page viewed in my web browser

The MeWe social network is a delight. You can connect with family and friends without being bombarded with advertising or worrying that anything you say or do is being sold to the highest bidder. MeWe supports groups, messaging, one-on-one chats and even group chats. Add the MeWe app to your mobile phone and you can enjoy voice and video calls with family and friends who are also on MeWe.

As it is, MeWe is quite impressive, but it’s about to get even better. In the next few weeks we will see even more MeWe goodness. Here’s a quick look at what’s to come . . .

The most requested feature is at the top of the list – MeWe Pages. Create a page for your business or personal use. Using Pages you can post “open posts” which are visible to all MeWe users and can be shared to others.

Right now the posts you add to your MeWe timeline are only visible to your contacts. The new open posts feature will give you the ability to make a post visible to all MeWe members or limit it to just selected people. Once this goes live, when you create a post you decide who can see it.

Right now you can embed a video in a post but soon you will be able to post them in comments, replies and other areas. This could get real interesting.

It won’t be long before these new features start rolling out and I’m sure they will all be a hit – just like everything else MeWe does. If you aren’t already a MeWe member, now would be a good time to get started.

I can’t wait to build the Moultrie Creek page on MeWe.

Safe Social Networks

Recently we learned that Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytics to access the personal information of 50 million users to be used for political purposes.

While Facebook is a great platform for news and “public” resources (genealogy network groups, apps, archives and resource pages along with other research pages and groups), it’s not a safe place to share personal information. Even something as innocuous as celebrating a birthday can turn into identity theft. Fortunately there are safer alternatives for sharing news, photos and other information.

A note posted in my MeWe timeline using the iPhone app.

First on the list is the MeWe social network (https://mewe.com). With MeWe you own your content and you control how you interact with other members and what level of privacy you want to maintain.

MeWe supports timelines, private chatting and groups. Safely share photos, videos, documents, voice messages and more. You can access MeWe using your desktop browser, smart phone or tablet (iOS and Android).

With MeWe you can create private groups for family and friends as well as topic groups. When a post is shared to a group only members of that group will see it. This means you can safely post your travel photos to your family and friends while on the road – something you would never do on Facebook.

Want to learn more? Get the details at https://MeWe.com/faq.

Another interesting option is Famicity – a family-based network with a focus on privacy. It has a look and feel that seems more like a scrapbook than a social network. This platform is focused on family – present and past. You can create and share photo albums, stories, videos, news and scanned ephemera. There is a family tree component which shows how you are related to others and serves as an index to view the entries related to that person.

With Famicity you control who can see that content. The social side kicks in when family and friends add their comments, photos and stories.

Famicity is free to use and your content will never be shared with a third party. They are planning to add “premium” features which will cost you to use. Learn more at https://www.famicity.com.

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A sample post in Posthaven

Although it isn’t a social network, the Posthaven blog platform is a great way to share news, photos, birthdays, special events and more. There are a number of features that make Posthaven a great family tool. The primary goal of Posthaven’s developers is to create a service which will be there for the long run. In order to do this, it will cost you to use Posthaven, but the cost is minimal. For $5.00 a month, you can create up to ten blogs. Even if you quit paying, your existing content will remain on your site (unless you decide to remove it). Posthaven supports both public and private blogs.

In the Posthaven world there are three types of users – publishers, subscribers and visitors. Publishers post content on the site. This includes photos and videos. Publishing is as easy as sending an email message. Every Posthaven blog has a unique address. Publishers create an email message and send it to the blog’s address. The subject of the email becomes the title of the post and the message becomes the content. Photos, links and videos can be included in the email to be published with the text content. On public blogs, any visitor will see your content, but on private blogs a password is needed to see the post. Each post has a comment form making it possible to start a conversation online.

Subscribers have posts delivered to them via email. They will receive all the content included in the post. They can even add comments just by replying to the message/post with their notes. This subscriber service is especially useful for family members who have trouble remembering passwords.

To learn more about Posthaven, visit the site at https://posthaven.com/.

Facebook Alternatives

Looking for a bit of privacy in your social network? You’ve got options.

This week we learned that Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytics to access the personal information in 50 million users to be used for political purposes. While Facebook is a great platform for news and “public” resources (genealogy network groups, apps, archives and resource pages along with other research pages and groups), it’s not a safe place to share personal information. Even something as…

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Five Things You Never Post On Facebook

If you think that having your privacy settings set correctly is all you need to do to stay safe on Facebook, think again. To protect yourself and your family, there are five things you should never post on Facebook or any other social network:

  • You or your family’s full birth dates. This is one of the things thieves look for to steal your identity.
  • Photos of your children tagged with their names. Predators use this information to convince children that they aren’t really a stranger.
  • Posting your current location tells everyone your not home. If you are on vacation, wait until you get home to post the pictures of your trip.
  • Never post that you are home alone. Make sure your children don’t either.
  • Don’t post your relationship status. This is another way you could be letting stalkers know you are home alone.

The best rule of thumb is not to post anything that you would not want a stranger to know. And, just because your privacy settings are set correctly doesn’t protect you if one of your friend’s account is hacked.