I don’t like the word “users”. But as a web engineer, the word “users” is part of the vernacular. It’s built into the way you think.

Every production app I’ve ever come across has a database table called “users”. Every tutorial teaching you to build a web app assumes it’ll have “users”. Every tool to help you manage customer accounts assumes your app will have users - including Google’s Firebase, Amazon’s Cognito, and even independent services like Auth0.

Somehow, we’ve collectively decided that the entities using our app are just… users.

Not members.

Not customers.

Not people.

Just users.

I don’t like the word “users”. It’s dehumanizing. It lets you think of the people using your app like simple cattle to be herded.

That’s why The Daily Paragraph doesn’t have users. In fact, if you’re technically oriented, you can confirm this for yourself; inspect the traffic to our GraphQL endpoint, and you’ll find nary a user in sight.

If you’re using The Daily Paragraph, then you’re not a user. Instead, you’re a persona, and you’re a member. You’re part of something.