My ideas for a social networking site that doesn’t suck

In the wake of Facebook’s latest privacy screwup, I’ve started to think about ideas for something that could be better than Facebook – providing what people like about Facebook, while providing strong privacy, and with less problems.

The basis of my idea is “spheres.” Spheres would be loosely based on the idea of lists of friends, but with much more control.

Every user would begin with a public and a private sphere. Spheres would be like individual user profiles, but under the same account.

The public sphere contains information that is visible to the world. Anyone, not even a member of this site, could view content in the public sphere.

The private sphere, however, would only contain information that’s visible to those that have been granted access.

Now, this setup can scale to more granular levels. Let’s say you want to share some information with all of your friends, but some information with only some friends. Friends would only be able to see information in a sphere that they are granted access to – sub-spheres wouldn’t be visible, unless they were explicitly granted access.

You could also set the spheres up such that a sphere can cross the public/private boundary. I’m not quite sure of the mechanics of it at this time, but you could, for example, have a work sphere that has some public information, some private information.

I may have to invert the structure of the spheres, such that you can have multiple parallel spheres with both public and private sub-spheres, rather than two all-encompassing spheres with spheres inside. However, the idea is that you could have fine-grained control over all information that you post, and who can see it, in a simple, logical manner.

BTW, if anyone’s wondering why I haven’t posted a “Why Apple is evil” article lately, I’ve been running a bit short on content. My goal is one article per day, but I never said I wouldn’t make up for missed days with multiple articles. I don’t want to make stuff up, or rehash stuff excessively, so that’s why I haven’t posted.