In November 2019 I started to see news headlines that Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, was attempting to create a different type of social network. While somewhat interested, I did not do any research. Today, December 2nd, 2019, Jimmy Wales did a Reddit AMA as can be seen here:
After reading his ambitions and a few of his responses, I immediately became much more interested. For several months I have grown frustrated with Google News as it is simply showing me “news results” from my previous days searches. As much as I care about the Nintendo Switch, the “Top 5 Mario Kart Characters You Love” is not news.
I have also grown increasingly frustrated with Reddit as it has slowly become a promotional tool for media outlets and brands that play the Reddit game. Every single day I see AMA’s, promoted posts and other content that is blatantly trying to sell products or increase exposure. Reddit has done very little to stop this. In fact, they are making their platform more and more Facebook like with the newest layout.
So, now we have WT.social. What is WT.social going to be? Is it going to attempt to be the new Snapchat, Twitter or TikTok? Is it going to die a quick death like Google Plus? Is it basically going to be a Wikipedia for social media?
My Early Impressions
I did not want to wait in line to get into WT.social so I forked over the $12.99 monthly fee to jump in line. This is the first thing I love about WT.social. When you create a free social network, the first people to join are “SEO experts”, wannabe YouTube influencers and people peddling $30 As Seen on TV products. I’ve seen it time and again with Google+, Ello, and Tsu. Fortunately, there is a barrier to entry for WT.social which should clean out most of this garbage.
After paying my $12.99 I was sent to the main page in which I was to choose subjects I like. This is similar to subreddits or interests on Instagram or Snapchat. You can choose specific SubWikis to join. As you can imagine, most are completely empty or have just a few active users.
As of December 2nd, 2019 there wasn’t even a SubWiki for Snapchat. I created it, which leads me to my first bug or frustrating feature.
Who Owns/Moderates a SubWiki?
You can create the SubWiki which gives you this url – https://wt.social/wt/snapchat. Then, nothing. You are not an owner or moderator. In fact, you are of the same “rank” or “value” as anyone else that joins the SubWiki. Is there an algorithm that determines who has moderation power or the ability to delete or edit posts? Which leads me to my next bug.
Can You Edit Other People’s Posts or Comments?
Obviously, on Wikipedia, you edit other people’s submitted content; is WT.social the same? No, once a user makes a post all you can do is comment or “talk” to user which is similar to a DM. You can also make posts in any SubWiki you desire.
Once you make a post (either a link or a text conversation) other users have the ability to comment on said post. This is social media 101. Unfortunately, you cannot @ or mention someone else. In fact, you will get a notification that a user commented on your post, but you don’t know what post this is nor can you click to find the comment on the notification.
This is obviously something that needs to be fixed, but not the biggest issue with editing posts. If you want to edit your post, it takes you to this screen:
It seems self explanatory, right? Not so fast. If you add text to your post and hit save, it does not update because it states “The title field is required”. What? Why would I want to add a title field? I already posted the information and I simply want to add or change some things.
As we all know, part of the value of Wikipedia is the fact that it is edited and fact driven content. You do not see grammatical errors on Wikipedia. If we cannot even edit a post without a song and a dance, how are we going to fix grammatical errors?
Who is Going to Join WT.social?
At this stage, there is no way college students, high school students, Instagram and YouTube influencers or celebrities are going to join WT.Social. Their goal with social media is to have fun and gain in popularity. That is not was WT.social is. What I think WT.social can become is a fact based news outlet that does not confirm your past search history with news. Just because you search for “Tana Mongeau Bang Energy video” does not mean every Tana Mongeau article is news.
You will be able to get news and information that is not dictated by the Google, Facebook or YouTube algorithm. You won’t see what the search and activity algorithms want you to see.
On WT.social You will also find that you see every post rather than what the algorithms want you to see. This means being very selective with the SubWikis you subscribe to will be extremely important.
What is WT.social?
Ultimately, WT.Social could be very similar to the early days of Reddit with the overall social feel of an highly educated and grammatically correct Facebook without memes and gifs. This is something the Internet needs in 2020. Instead of click bait articles about the Trump impeachment, you will have users like PoppinKream on Reddit giving well researched comments and information.
Do not expect WT.social to have 250 million daily active users. Even if it has 2 million active users, that is enough. If Jimmy Wales can figure out how to fix the bugs and make it appealing to the passionate Internet users that edit Wikipedia on an hourly basis, this type of social media network can become a success.
If the YouTube SubWiki looks like this, it will not be a success:
If SubWikis are only going to be places where wannabe influencers drop links to their websites, Instagram profiles and YouTube Channels, WT.social will never get off the ground.
If Jimmy Wales can find some passionate users that will immediately start the moderation process on all the posted content, then WT.social has some legs.
What do you think? Does WT.social have a chance or is it dead on arrival with the early bugs and features?