We are going through the beginning stages of a second wave of social media. Whether you’re a page owner with millions of Facebook likes or a user with 50 friends, everyone is getting sick of dealing with the dominant companies which seem to have a policy that says, “we’ll exploit our users just enough to get what we want, but not enough to make them leave.” Facebook, Twitter, and virtually all the other tech giants operate in much the same way: steal your data while they manipulate what you see through hidden algorithms, censor and shadow ban voices they don’t like without notice or appeal and then expect you to deal with it because there’s nowhere else to go.
But that’s not how it has to be, and people are really starting to understand that now. Minds, the alternative social networking site that this is published on, has been growing over the past couple of years and has a lot of potential to gain a following that rivals other social media sites. Being able to gain points through use of the site and then spend those points “boosting” your posts to a large audience makes the technology perfect for content creators. Combine that with no algorithm manipulation or privacy-invading data collection, and you’ve fixed most of the problems that plague the social media landscape.
But as great as Minds is, I think it can be better. There are a few features that I think would improve the site a lot which probably wouldn’t be very difficult to implement. Being a pretty active Minds user, here are my top 10 features that I would like to see implemented.
1. Top Subscribed Feed
Having a chronological feed is important, but there are some problems that come with it. First, you end up missing out on content that you want to see because you’re subscribed to too many people or you have a handful of subscriptions to users who post all day long. Second, you end up seeing content mostly from a handful of users that seem to be on Minds every waking hour of the day. I think that most large page owners are used to algorithm-manipulated news feeds, so when they come to Minds, they aren’t entirely sure how to post in a way that allows their content to be seen, but also doesn’t flood their subscribers' feeds, which will eventually make them leave.
My solution to this problem is to implement a new type of feed, called “Top Subscribed”. Minds already has a “Top” feed, which uses hashtags, but it doesn’t allow for the same level of control that Top Subscribed would have. Instead of seeing hashtag posts or chronological, you could get a mixture of every one of your subscriptions’ posts over the last 24 hours with a restriction that limits the amount that one single profile can show up in your feed by once every 15 posts or so, and it’s based on which posts have the most engagement. That way, you can keep up with all your subscriptions without being forced into seeing 20 posts in a row from the same user, while still staying subscribed.
2. Scheduled Posting
Something that would make the site a lot more usable for people who want to post bulk content would be a scheduled posting feature. Being able to schedule content for certain times during the day or week would allow both individual users and news outlets which have several articles or videos that they want to share in a day a way to do so without having to set alarms or post them all at once. This way, chronological feeds could be kept tidier and users who want their content seen at certain times of the day wouldn’t have to be at the computer or on their phone every time they want to do so. This feature could help to attract a lot of major content providers who could also bring their audiences with them, increasing the amount of people each user can reach.
3. Notification Management for Mobile
One of the most difficult things about Minds is the fact that you can’t alter the types of notifications that you receive on mobile. Every time you get a new subscriber, comment on a post, reshare, or a message, you automatically get a notification on your phone which comes with a vibration or sound. At a certain point, when you have a lot of people subscribing or a set of two or three people who are commenting on one of your posts all day, you just want to shut it off – but not by deleting the app. If users could control the amount and type of notifications they get, it would make Minds mobile a lot easier to work with.
4. Ability to Make Channel Private
Minds is all about privacy, but one thing that you can’t do is make your channel fully private. You can, of course, sign up under an alias and post that way, but you can’t choose to use your actual name, but have your posts private so only those you are mutually subscribed to can see them. Other networks like Diaspora, MeWe, and even Facebook have this, but for whatever reason, Minds doesn’t. I think that this privacy feature which is more oriented toward communicating with friends would be appealing for certain types of people.
5. WordPress Plugin for Auto-Posting and Share Buttons
WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms, is one of the leading open-sourced platforms in the world. It allows anyone to create a website easily and begin posting content with tons of features. Two of the most powerful and basic features that WordPress has are the Auto-Post and Share Button features. Essentially, WordPress connects with several other websites, including Facebook and Twitter, and posts to each of them every time you publish to your site. On each of your pages, it also allows for sharing buttons so readers can easily share your content to their timelines as well.
However, Minds isn’t on the bandwagon quite yet. It would be relatively simple to create a plugin that can serve these functions, and it would also make Minds a more viable place for content creators to start posting, giving regular users more reason to use the site as well.
6. Referral Counter
This is something that I’ve wanted for a long time. Each referral to Minds gives you 10 points which factor into your overall score for the day, giving you a certain number of tokens depending on performance. However, one thing that you can’t do is see how many people you’ve referred, even just going back a month! The YouTube alternative BitChute has this feature and I think that it would be encouraging to be able to see this number on Minds, even if the only referrals shown were over the past 30 days. Also, being able to display this number aside the “total views” and “subscribers” info on your profile would make it even more worthwhile.
7. An emphasis on converting Minds Tokens to Ethereum
I’m not sure how viable this one is, but it could really make the site worth using. Right now, it’s possible to trade the cryptocurrency Ethereum for Minds Tokens, but it’s not clear to me whether you can trade Tokens for Ethereum (and then dollars). Being able to do this simple task would make the site a lot more fun and useful as it would mean you can get paid in actual dollars for your activity. Other companies like Presearch do this, so why not Minds?
8. Group Chats
Both MeWe and Facebook allow their users to instant message multiple other users at a time, in the same conversation. Minds has encrypted chat, which is a big plus from those sites, but they don’t allow users to add more than two to a conversation. I think that this probably would not take much to update, and it could make the site a lot more community-oriented, rather than simply one-on-one or one-on-everyone.
9. Upgrade Minds Plus
Minds Plus is kind of a lame-duck feature right now. It allows for verification, which is great, but aside from that it doesn’t really do much. Before, it was a way to support the project financially once a month with a $5-dollar contribution, but now that it’s being supported by tokens it’s almost not worth having. If the Minds Plus feature was updated to allow for dollar contributions again, and maybe up the price in tokens to 50, but add some extra features to make it interesting, it could become something that people really want again.
Finally, Minds needs a leaderboard. Growing up in the late-2000s era of the internet, I was able to see what early YouTube looked like before Google came in and really turned the place into a haven for corporate monoliths. Back in the day, I remember watching the subscriber leaderboards to see if my favorite channels were ranking higher or lower than they were the week before. Smosh was always near the top, and other great content creators like SMPFilms were in the top 100 as well. But one day, YouTube took this away along with annotations and a few other popular features.
I think that Minds should bring it back. If there were leaderboards for most commented, most liked, most subscribed, and most referrals over the past 30 days, users would be able to have a lot more fun because there would be that spice of healthy competition that keeps them striving for the top and watching their favorite users to see how well they are doing. Alternatively, if you’re not into that then there’s no need to pay any attention at all, but it would drive a lot of traffic to those at the top and be a lot of fun!
So those are my two-cents on the direction that I would like to see Minds go for at least a little while as they implement some of these features. Even if the team could get just one of these accomplished, I would be happy to see the growth. I think Minds can evolve into a social media platform that really gives their users the tools that they want, rather than just abusing them like the major platforms do.