Sunday, January 6, 2019

Different Choices: Aether

This post is part of a series where I explore and review alternatives to the more popular social media platforms. This series was inspired by "It May Be Time to Start Making Different Choices," 30 December 2018.

Mirrored on Pillowfort
Mirrored on Patchwork (QR code)

The boring bit
Aether is a relatively new platform, currently (12/2018) in "soft launch" release, fresh out of closed beta. It does require proprietary software to access the platform, and it's currently not available on mobile devices.

It's also fairly slow. After you post an update, it takes a while to propagate. The FAQ even recommends staying online for several minutes after any single posting to make sure it distributes properly.
You can create a community for your friends, or for strangers that are interested in similar things. All communities are public, and everyone can write to any community. (There’ll be communities restricted to certain people, but we’re still working on that for now.)

If you’re familiar with Reddit, Slashdot, or Usenet, it’s pretty similar. Aether does two main things differently though. The first is that it’s ephemeral. The content disappears after a while. The other is, the communities are democratic, they elect their own leadership.
That's direct from the "What's Aether" page. So while it is fairly functional (and very pretty, who can say no to a grey/orange palette?), there's still a lot of work to go.

Less boring
Unlike some of the other social media platforms that are forthcoming in this series, Aether already has a diverse and growing user-base. It's easy to find other people, even if you're something of a black sheep among your friends and can't convince anybody to leave the poisonous atmosphere of their chosen platform for something more healthy.

Aether uses a unique hyperlink format so it's easy to tell when you're entering or leaving aether-space (or should I be calling it the Quintes/sphere?). You can see it in this link to the DreamClassier community I've opened up:

Compared to some other platform access points, Aether is surprisingly well built despite it's youth, and I look forward to seeing the community grow.

More Different Choices posts