The social network “Minus” is remarkably thoughtful

Screenshot of three thoughtful posts on the social network named "Minus". Full screenshots of these posts are available further down in this blog post.

In case you haven’t heard—Minus is a new social network where you are allowed only 100 posts—for life. Once you reached 100 posts, you are not allowed to make any more posts.

As with any creative act, when you put restraints on the act of creativity, you get some interesting results. In fact, my second Minus post was about this phenomenon.

(My first post was accidentally about croquet)

Here are a few examples of the thoughtful posts on Minus:

I miss the thoughtfulness of phone booths. There’s simply no app for shielding oneself from the rain or changing into Superman.
I always hate eating the last bite of a delicious meal.  It seems somehow cruel that an experience so grand, so…life-giving, can be so limited.  Maybe if I delay this final bite, I can somehow cling to the fleeting joy for just one moment longer. Once I swallow that final time, will I ever find such beauty again?  My paralyzing fear and inaction doesn’t actually increase my enjoyment of that morsel. To enjoy, I must consume. This is its cycle.  Maybe joy isn’t renewable. But can I trust that joy is bountiful?  For this same reason, I fear posting. What if I think of something better to use my limited submissions on? What if I’m wasting what little opportunity I have.  But f*** it, life must be lived. Eat the damn bite.
It’s an interesting idea. After all, what use would I make of words if I knew they were finite?  First, I would say that I am a very optimistic person. Optimistic to the point of being selfish, to the point of not caring. Yes I don’t care. Because, for me, everything is fine.  This would be my outburst, because how long did I have to be silent about it? What’s wrong with thinking everything is fine when I feel that way?  Why should I feel ashamed for considering that life, no matter what, has always been beautiful to me?  I don’t really care as in my mind and heart there are only butterflies flying.

Because of these philosophical posts, I enjoy checking out the homepage minus.social once a day. It’s been interesting getting a feel for the site.

Discover more curated Minus posts curated by me

I’m curating Minus posts on Hypothes.is, saving them under the tag “Minus“.

Three types of users on minus.social

There are more than three types of users, but these three come to mind repeatedly when I visit the site

1. The thoughtful

There are the thoughtful posts. Which are fantastic.

2. The quick flame: ignored and burns out

The only way to browse through posts on Minus is either through the homepage, or by search. You cannot “follow” specific people. There is no algorithm to sort the “best” posts to the top. The homepage is a literal chronological stream of all the posts. Simply sorted by time. Yup, you see it all. No filter.

You might think that there would be a bunch of junk. There is some, yes. But it’s actually not too bad. As you scroll through the homepage of Minus, sometimes you’ll see a ton of posts by one person. They throw caution to the wind, and just burn through their allotment of lifetime posts. Given the quantity of this quick posts, the quality is not great. Since Minus doesn’t have a bajillion users and posts,

Those posts occasionally dominate the homepage. You scroll and scroll seeing multiple posts by the same person. It’s almost like this person gets their very VERY brief moment of fame, and then burns out quickly. I haven’t clicked on any of their posts to see if there is any engagement. I’m assuming when readers see a ton of posts published in quick succession, that all the posts get ignored.

3. The pointless

Then you have the people who neither post a ton, but they don’t really post anything interesting either. Not all posts are going to be deep introspective ponderings. Some are just quick random thoughts—a little bit of the feeling of Twitter in the early days. Answers to the question “What are you doing now”.

This goes in contrast against the more thoughtful posts. So then it makes me wonder… how some people post something thoughtful and others just something kinda pointless. Of course, that’s the nature of humanity. You’ll get a wide spectrum of everything. But how does this happen? Why some good and some bland?

Who shapes the type of user on the site?

Whomever brings traffic to the site, is the people who end up shaping the site.

Who is talking on minus? Who is getting people to come to the site? If you have a thoughtful publication writing about Minus, then of course, you’ll probably get people who will be more likely to write something thoughtful.

Or if someone on Facebook who has a crowd that’s… well, not as thoughtful, then Minus gets a brief burst of unthoughtful posts.

The registration form shapes the type of user

There’s still the barrier of signing up for the site. So you have to have some motivation to sign up. The signing up serves as a sort of filter for what gets posted on the site.

Currently there is no “easy” sign up by using Facebook or Google. You have to enter an actual email address. Which sounds simple, but in comparison to just clicking a Facebook verification button, the email sign up takes a bit more time. You have enter in your First Name, Last Name, Username, a password.

Screenshot of the registration form:

Maybe even the “website (optional)” field detracts some people from signing up. Probably not, most people will just likely skip over that field. Especially since it’s labeled “options”. But for those who don’t have their own website, this field might signals that maybe this Minus site isn’t quite for you.

If you enjoy contemplative places online, give Minus a try

If you sign up, let me know. I’ll follow you through your RSS feed. Yeah, even though you can’t officially “follow” anyone on the site, you can still subscribe to their RSS feed.

My page on Minus: minus.social/members/spudart/activity
My RSS feed on Minus: minus.social/members/spudart/activity/feed (don’t get thrown off by the browser error when loading the feed. There’s just a couple extra line returns at the start of the feed)

Image credit: The hero image of this blog post has a background with a pattern. This Open Access image is a napkin from the Art Institute of Chicago. From the Northern Netherlands of 1655–1675, this napkin was used for children as it gave them a maze to figure their way through.

I’ve written about the 11 napkins in the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection

The eleven napkins of the Art Institute of Chicago

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