With the closing of Google Plus and the self-inflicted problems Facebook is battling, the social media horizon seems bleak. Google+ refugees have been searching for a new home and Facebook users just want to #dumpfacebook. Some have found solace at MeWe while others have landed other places. But the dust hasn’t settled and some people are still searching for a Google+ and Facebook alternative. The Horn is at least one you might try.
I was an original Google+ user and I built a following of over 35K followers. The Techaeris brand page built up a following of over 200K followers. So when the Ploos closed it was heartbreaking, to say the least. Not only did we make amazing friends but we found an audience we could connect with. Knowing that Google+ would close soon enough, I started my search for a new social media home.
My first stop was Twitter, which I’ve been on for some time, just not very actively. I also tried Mastodon, Minds, Vero, and finally MeWe. MeWe is as close to Google+ as I have been able to find and we’ve already built the Techaeris brand page past 2,000 followers. But we know there are others still searching for other alternatives.
Given that Facebook is shaking users by their ankles for their data, many users are looking for more privacy and fewer instances of data grabbing. MeWe does offer much of what users are seeking but there’s always room for an alternative.
The Horn is a new take on social media created by a group of family members who were fed up with Facebook. The Horn is as startup as you’re going to get, grassroots to the core. I had the chance to sit down with two of the family partners of the new social media site and have a chat.
So here is what was on my mind.
Why start a social media site from scratch when Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others have most of the market swallowed whole?
The folks at The Horn realize that the competition for social media is fierce but they’re not looking for users who are simply looking for a place to post and share content. They’re seeking to build a space where the closest of friends and family can gather free from ads and free from data mining.
The Horn isn’t designed to replace Facebook, but rather, it’s designed to be a social media space for those closest to you. You may have amassed a following of 5,000, yet you probably only interact and actually know a handful of those people. The folks at The Horn want to provide a space where you can be social with that group and no one but that group knows what is being posted.
You do realize that most users have a very hard time wrapping their head around paying for a social media service, yes?
They are very aware of this and admit that their path is an uphill battle. But they also believe that with the amount of negative press Mark Zuckerberg brings down on himself, people will start seeking an alternative such as theirs. They also believe that at some point people will realize what Facebook and Google offer isn’t free, you pay with your data.
I believe that most users have become numb to the fact that they are the product and Facebook, Amazon, and Google (among others) are raking in something far more valuable than ad revenue, they rake in our data.
So do you collect any data or analytics from your user base at all?
According to the company, they collect nothing. They also do not sell ads, nor do they work with any companies seeking user data. If you decide to delete your account, your account is deleted and wiped from the server the instant you hit delete.
So how much does this cost and what do users get?
The Horn will cost users US$3.99 a month or $30 annually. The company charges for the service because they run no ads and they don’t collect user data in order to monetize it. The service also comes with 100 Gigabytes of cloud file storage so you can share your photos and videos with family and friends.
What about censorship and freedom of speech?
Will users be allowed to speak their mind on The Horn? According to the company, the only rules they will enforce are the rules of law. If something is being posted that is against the law, then they reserve the right to ban or take action against the account. Otherwise, I was told there is no censorship on the platform and users are free to speak their minds.
I’ve had the chance to poke around The Horn’s interface and see what the platform is like. It’s not unlike any other social media site, it has the ability to create private and public groups. The term public is public only to Horn members, not to the entire internet. You can search for members with the search tool, there is a general members lobby should you want to be more social beyond your circle or group of users.
There’s certainly a lot more that needs to be done but the company has to attract more users to get the feedback needed to make the experience even better. That’s why The Horn has asked for our help as well as the help of our readers. They’re very keen on building the brand and feedback and ideas are probably the most valuable thing they could possible get right now.
So the company is extending an offer to our readers of two free months membership at The Horn to test it out for yourselves and to provide some much-needed feedback. You will need to provide billing information and once the two-months is over, you will be charged US$3.99 a month. You can cancel any time within the two-months and not be charged anything.
All you need to do to test out The Horn is to visit their website and sign up. Enter the discount code TECHAERIS. Enter your billing info. Once you’re all done, your account will show you have a 2-month trial and give you the expiration date of the trial period. Remember, you can cancel at any time and not be charged anything. You can also delete your account and no information will be stored on The Horn servers.
The Horn works on desktop and currently has an Android app available and they are waiting for approvals of their iOS app from Apple.
We understand that this particular social media model isn’t for everyone, but we thought we would work with The Horn to provide users an alternative to try should they be curious or haven’t found a place to call their social media home.
What do you think of The Horn? Are you going to try it out for two months for free? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, or Facebook. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network. You can also comment on our group page on The Horn.