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Leave Faceboogle! Join the Social Swarm!

November 16, 2011

"Online Communities 2" CC-BY-NC

I received the following email this morning. I thought it was worth passing on as is. I’ll post related comments and links soon. Read the comments to get an idea of who is behind this project.

Subject: Invitation to the Social Swarm

Dear fellow people from the Internet.

We know that social network services changed the way  we handle information and relationships.

But we also know that social network services create certain problems that come with storing  large amounts of personal information.

We are concerned about our privacy on those services. The centralized nature of current social networks forces users to trust third parties that are not trustworthy.

We do not have to surrender to technology as it is.

We have to shape technology in a way that is suited  to human nature.

This is why the goal should be to create a network that enables all of its users to communicate freely.

They must be able to use it in the way they want to, without being hindered by restrictions like censorship or the risk of losing control of their own content.

It is not about creating an alternative to existing social network services – it is about creating something even better.

There are different approaches to bringing this about, and they all have different up- and downsides. You are working on them. We are working on them.

So we ask you to join forces, with us and with each other, to create what we all are hoping for, what is driving us and what we need: A free and secure means of communication for everybody and everything.

To achieve this, we think the social network must satisfy these requirements:

1. Free software.

2. Good usability.

3. Decentralization.

4. End-to-end encryption.

5. Mandatory privacy: no plaintext data stored on servers.

6. Scalability.

7. Innovation over standards.

8. Better than what we currently have.

We would love to see you on our mailinglist:

To have a closer look at the project, go to our wiki:

Best wishes,

the folks of Social Swarm

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeffrey Keefer permalink
    November 17, 2011 5:25 am

    This seems interesting, Mark. Wonder why the site’s organizers do not mention themselves or who is involved in this project; that would help with the initial credibility. Do you know who any of them are?


    • Mark Mcguire permalink
      November 17, 2011 6:29 am

      Hi, Jeffrey

      Like you, I like to know who is “speaking” when messages are posted or sent online. I assume others feel the same way, at least in cases when you would expect to be able to identify the “real” person behind messages. That’s why I’ve chosen to use my real name and photo on this blog, and on Twitter. The short answer to your question regarding the author(s) of the email message that I posted above is “I don’t know”.
      The email was sent out to the “unlikeus” mailing list (, which was initiated by Geert Lovink (Institute of Network Cultures/HvA, Amsterdam) and Korinna Patelis (Cyprus University of Technology, Lemasol). I know Geert’s work, and I’ve been following his Network Cultures project ( Since the message was sent out on the Unlike Us email list (connected to Geert and his institute), I felt it was safe to pass it on. Given the nature of the Social Swarm project (a response, in part, to Facebook’s efforts to make everything you say and do visible), and the fact that the message was not signed, I wasn’t sure if the author(s) of the email wanted to make herself/himself/themselves known publicly. A search for “social swarm” on showed no hits. A Google web search didn’t yield anything useful, either. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to make enquiries. Let’s see what we can find out. In the meantime, you can find more information about Unlike Us here: (I’m not sure how to create hypertext links in a WordPress comment).
      Thanks for leaving a comment. I’ll follow up on Twitter (@mark_mcguire) as well.

  2. Klaus Schleisiek permalink
    November 18, 2011 12:53 am

    Hi Jeffrey, hi Mark,

    the SocialSwarm project was started on occasion of this years AKtiVKongreZ, which is an annual get-together of concerned citizens working on different aspects of the social ramifications of computerdom. These meetings are organised by, which is a chartered non-profit association and the German equivalent to EFF, I believe.

    As “Tom Twiddlebit” I initiated the Chaos-Computer-Club 30 years ago. Since then I have looked at the social ramifications of electronic communication and especially on uses of the internet for socio-emancipative applications. I think, SocialSwarm could become one of the latter.

    Klaus “Tom Twiddlebit” Schleisiek

    • November 18, 2011 1:55 am

      Thanks, Klaus (and Mark). Now if only my German language skills were better, perhaps I could better see who is involved!

      Are there any plans on having this information a little more present on the Social Swarm website?

      Thank you.


      • Klaus Schleisiek permalink
        November 18, 2011 2:17 am

        Well, is a wiki and quite new – don’t expect too much yet. But we decided to communicate in English from the very beginning – including the mailing list. If SocialSwarm is going to succeed it needs to be a global effort.


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