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The proud status update of your former classmate informs you of the birth of her offspring. Your colleague posts pictures of his travels, and the next family meeting is also being planned via Facebook. Everthing is for free, but not without cost. Facebook is making money off of your profile data and usage statistics. If you're not paying for it, it's likely you are the product.

In the end, all of your data gets stored and processed for infinity in Facebook's database. And Facebook thinks of new tricks again and again, to use your data the way they like. This earned it more and more public criticism and even a BigBrotherAward in 2011.

Google+ promises to be an alternative, but in reality it is no different than Facebook. The user is the cattle that produces the milk and the meat. It is supposed to flourish, but it has no say in deciding what to do with the milk, or how the stable should look like.

A few unfaltering users of the net got together, to create a better alternative. But as of now, there are several approaches, each with its up- and downsides. All of them are only being noticed by relatively few people. Social Swarm is an open think tank trying to come up with precise requirements for a social communications infrastructure the way we all need. We want to concentrate the development efforts of the community again, to build one solution fulfilling these requirements.

It is important to use free software and a decentralized approach, so we are independent of centralized infrastructure and software we cannot control. We also need strong end-to-end encryption and privacy by design, so there are no central all encompassing databases. Centralization already happened at factories with the workforce and at banks with the money, resulting in an imbalance of power. We have to prevent it happening again on the information frontier with the Faceboogles!

We want a social network deserving of the word social. We want to shape this together with other people and organisations. We want to find the right criteria how our network should look like. We want to explore and implement possibilities. Once the network is ready to go, we are going to launch a large scale change-over campaign.

For all of this we need your help. You can find our mailing lists and wiki at socialswarm.net. We want a social swarm. Join us!

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