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Replacing Facebook

So lately I’ve begun to worry about Facebook, and the way my community relies on it for nearly everything. All communications among troupes and shows goes through Facebook. All events are planned on Facebook. Most interpersonal messages are sent through Facebook. I have one major concern about all of this: Facebook, as a for-profit entity, will do whatever it feels will maximize its revenue stream. It will enact policies (for example, relating to privacy) which many users may find intolerable… and it feels like keeping troupe interactions limited to Facebook prevents those people from discontinuing the service. Already there are a few people in the Austin improv community who’ve expressed their desire to cut the tether to Facebook.

So I feel there needs to be an alternative. Something not controlled by a for-profit company, something which is divorced from the status updates, photos, relatives, and other stuff that might constitute a privacy concern. Something for the planning and execution of the improv projects in our lives, that can stand on its own.

I believe the software should have the following features:

  • Each project (troupe or show) should have its own space, containing:
    • A forum for project members to discuss
    • A blog kept by administrators, for announcements
    • Email updates by which announcements can go out to members
    • A calendar of events, both public and private
      • This should hopefully be Gmail- or iCal-compatible. Something that can be subscribed to
    • A space to hold documents for members’ information
  • Searching in a project should turn up all of those things — calendar items, forum posts, blog posts, blog comments.
  • Each project could have a public space as well, serving as the project’s web page.
  • Users can be designated as administrators of a particular project, with the ability to admit and banish other members
  • There could be a centralized space for discussion unrelated to a project
    • (This may be redundant; there’s the AIC forum for that sort of thing.)

That’s what I can think of right now. Now: What software can do all this? Drupal, maybe? I sort of want to roll my own, but that brings up a lot more questions, such as what language or framework to use, and also where am I going to find the time?

So that’s up next: Find, or figure out how to build, a software package that meets my needs. Open to suggestions!

One Comment

  • Reply David W. |

    If you don’t mind reinventing the wheel, and you can find enough server space and bandwidth, it seems like you can put nearly all of that together with some standard services through WordPress, Google, etc. Knowing how to use stuff like Drupal would probably be essential. I have now exhausted just about everything I know about computers in two sentences.

So, what do you think ?