First Impressions of New Social Media Sites MeWe and Parler

How to find your way around a new platform and make the right friends

A social media revolution?

MeWe and Parler are new social media platforms that want to compete with Facebook and Twitter. Will they succeed anytime soon? I hope so. MeWe looks and functions a lot like Facebook now — something it did not when I first joined. I expect new members of MeWe won’t feel as lost as I did when I joined over a year ago.

I joined because I like to pioneer new sites. More new people are joining now because they are tired of censorship, seeing only a few friends’ posts in their feed, and seeing almost as many ads as posts.

Here’s what Brent Bozell had to say about Facebook and Twitter censorship. So far, I haven’t been censored. Maybe it’s because I try to keep my opinions civil and don’t get too political except on one account. Even then I don’t post unless I have solid documentation for facts I state. Or I make it clear it’s just my opinion. Politics isn’t really my main interest, but I try to stay informed and share a link or opinion when I believe it’s important to inform, take a stand, or support those who share my opinions.

The main reason I want a new social media home is that I’m tired of being a product putting time and effort into making money for billionaires. They try to silence my voice by not letting most of my followers hear it unless I pay to boost a post. I’m tired of having my personal data sold and shared without my permission. I value my privacy. And then there is the manipulation on Facebook: Facebook: The Site I Love to Hate.

Should you join MeWe?

If you join MeWe now, you can get in early and grow with it. Those who join an alternate site in its early stages or as a new growth spurt starts will start acquiring followers sooner than those who come in later. They can form new groups to help incorporate the friends they are inviting. I and another friend have begun doing this on MeWe.

My friend Cynthia started a group for bloggers and those who create art (Writers and Creators) and invited many bloggers and POD designers to the group. It’s now beginning to thrive and I’m meeting some new people with common interests. I’m also staying in touch with many longtime online friends.

MeWe is about free speech and common sense. Right now most of the posts and members I’ve seen there have a conservative bias. Most are currently helping each other deal with the results of the 2020 election. That might lead a newcomer to believe the site is only about conservative politics. If you dig deeper, you will find there’s more to it than that. I’ll show you later on how you can find contacts with some non-political interests.

Most liberals aren’t censored on other sites so they have no reason to move. I predict as more conservatives migrate to MeWe or USA.Life, which I discovered and joined a few days ago, the progressives on Facebook will find themselves preaching to their own choir and scratching each other’s backs.

USA.Life is a social network that targets Christians and conservatives. The only liberals I’ve found there so far are part of the usual assortment of trolls. I’ll post more about that site when I’ve been there longer and have more experience with it. If you want to explore it now, you can connect with me there.

People are now migrating from Facebook to MeWe enmass. Why? They want free speech. Google, Facebook and Twitter often censor or hide their conservative posts. Many prominent conservatives are sharing links to their MeWe and Parler accounts to escape the censorship.

Facebook friends I invited to MeWe a year ago are now finally starting to join. One by one they come. I hope more still get the message. Meanwhile, I will make new friends and create groups where the circles of my friends can migrate if they decide to join. Or I will share the links to the other active groups I’m part of that may also interest them.

Did you just join an alternative social media site?

Joining a new site is always a bit scary if you don’t know many people. We all like what’s familiar. We want to talk to the people we know. But the world is full of wonderful people we haven’t met yet.

I learned that when I was writing on the vanished Squidoo site, formerly owned by Seth Godin. He sold the site to HubPages and migrated the writers and their work to the new site.

Both sites had forums and networking groups where writers learned from, shared with, and got to know each other. As one writing site would close, another would start, and we’d migrate with some of our friends to the new site and communicate in Facebook groups.

Those groups will not migrate. But many of their members will. They will probably do what I’m doing — establish a basecamp on the new site while keeping their Facebook accounts open for networking. They will use their current social media accounts to invite people to the new newer sites. And they will begin making new friends on the sites they are pioneering.

Image by Amy Hyde from Pixabay

Pioneering a new site

When Americans began to populate the Western Frontier, they came wagon train by wagon train to a region where they had to start over and build their infrastructure to pave the way for those who would later come by rail. They built homes, schools, and churches. They grew food and started businesses such as inns, saloons, and stores. Those who came after them were able to meet their own needs more easily than the pioneers had been able to.

Those in the wagon trains had had to continue living in them and cooking outside of them until they had built their new homes. At the end of their long journey, they couldn’t go to a restaurant for dinner after a hard day or several months of travel. No! They had to get out of the wagon and fix a meal. Every day.

Those of us pioneering new social media sites will also often find ourselves with hardships we aren’t used to. The newest sites tend to have more bugs and glitches than the established sites they want to replace. They have fewer members and less money for technical help as they build their infrastructure.

As sites grow, they begin to work better and add more features. The pioneers hang in there and as the site grows, they will reap the reward of expanding their network among the early adopters as they wait for their Facebook or Twitter friends to join them.

How to make friends on MeWe

Here’s how I’ve made new friends on MeWe, but these methods work on most social networks that allow groups and pages.

  • First, build your profile. Remember to include your interests so people with similar interests can find you. I like to add some of my background and my location. Be sure and add your profile photo. Change the default banner so your profile will stand out. Don’t start trying to connect to people you don’t know until you do this. It lets established members know you are serious.
  • Make an introductory post to let prospective contacts know what they can expect from you. Click the button to make it featured so it will stay on top until you are ready to replace it with something else designed to attract the kind of contacts you want.
  • At first, post once or twice a day and keep track of your notifications. Answer any comments on your posts.
  • Do not accept every friend request you get. Check profiles. If you are female you will get lots of requests from lonely men, single, divorced, or widowed. Most of these are fakes and scammer(See below)
  • Only accept requests from people who seem to have something in common with you. Bots seem to infiltrate every social media site before they get kicked off
  • Join groups. Only join those with recent posts. Only send contact requests to people who have posted within the last two months unless you know them personally. Read the comments people make on groups to determine if you have something in common with them. If so, send them a connection request.
  • Comment on the posts of people who appear to be someone you’d like to get to know better. Their friends will see your comments in public groups or profiles and may send you a contact request. If you aren’t a political person, you can tell by a person’s timeline what they will be posting. If it doesn’t interest you, don’t connect with them. Or if you do, be aware that you can mute their posts without disconnecting. You can set permissions for contacts on the right side of your contact’s profile page.
  • Invite your family and circle of friends from other sites to join and follow you on MeWe. There is a link at the bottom of your profile to do that. There’s also a link at the bottom of each group’s profile. At the top of your contacts page is a button next to the search bar to invite your friends from other sites or by email.

More on Fake Profiles: These posers usually say they are doctors, military, or working on oil rigs somewhere outside the country. Many of them have what appear to be two first names rather than a first and surname, e.g. JohnMark, WilliamPaul, PeterJohn, etc. They usually post photos of themselves dressed in a white lab coat, scrubs, a military uniform, or athletic garb. They then post pictures of themselves with a child, standing beside a snazzy car, or with an oil rig in the background. Maybe they will show themselves working out.

Men with this kind of profile are usually looking for lonely or compassionate women to scam. They will have scant information on their profiles and usually indicate they are looking for a relationship. Many use poor English. They rarely have posted more than a couple of photos. Do not accept contact requests with these people. Block them. Especially if they immediately send you a private message.

If you follow my suggestions, you will make the right kind of new friends soon. To keep them and attract more new friends, spend a few minutes each day on the site. Make a post on your profile and on a group you belong to. Comment on the posts of others. And be sure to answer any comments you get on posts or comments. That lets people know you are still there and active so they are more willing to connect with you.

Why not join MeWe now and start enjoying what the site has to offer? Please find and connect with me here.

My experiences so far on Parler

Photo of one of my Parler posts using a personal photo with icons labeled.

Parler is an alternative to Twitter for those who are tired of either being censored themselves or having the people they like to follow censored. Parler has better privacy controls than Twitter. Our posts are called Parleys. An echo equals a retweet. You can choose to echo with or without a comment included. Clicking an up arrow is a vote for a post. You can use the icons on the bottom right to expand the post or copy a link so you can share it. Once you have posted a Parler or a comment, you can delete it, but you can’t edit it.

You can choose to make your account private or public. You can also disable messaging and decide what email notifications you want to receive.

Start a new Parley by clicking the + in the circle at the bottom right of your profile. The three lines on the top left are the navigation menu. If you are on a PC you won’t need to use it much, since most of your discovery choices are to the right of your profile page. The phone app is more limited. Your experience will be better on a computer.

Hints on following others are similar to those for how to make friends on MeWe listed above. There’s no sense in following someone who never posts. You might want to take a chance on a very new member who just hasn’t posted yet. Since there are no groups, I depend heavily on comments on my posts or posts in my feed to find new contacts.

What I like best about Parler is is the ability to follow all my favorite contacts on one platform and see them all in my feed at a glance. It’s like curating my own news. I had to unfollow one account I liked, though, because it posted constantly.

When I was still following that account its posts buried everyone else’s. I now follow that account on MeWe where I can keep it in my contacts without giving permission for its posts to display in my feed. I can still easily get to the account’s profile when I want to see what it posts. Unless you are a prominent public figure or publication, you will make more contacts if you only post a few times a day and not all at once.

Don’t be afraid to explore or pioneer new social media

You just may decide you like an alternative social media site better than the one it wants to replace. I definitely like MeWe better than Facebook. The only reason I maintain my Facebook account is to stay in touch with friends who won’t use MeWe yet and to keep participating in networking groups that won’t move.

Originally published at https://barbrad.com on November 21, 2020.

Christian, bereaved adoptive mom, blogger, amateur nature photographer, voracious reader. Married 54 years. Central Coast of California. https://barbrad.com

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