Tuesday, July 9, 2019

This is how Blockchain can transform social media


We hear people complain about social media, that it's broken for a lot of reasons,  privacy, security, user-friendliness are the most touched on topics and this influences the kind of apps and websites each individual user visits. Sometimes they blame the person or the algorithm behind the particular platform; a perfect example is Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg's criticisms in lately. These are the kind of things people argue about.

How can we solve this with blockchain?

There are a few ways that I think this can be done. The target to fix the issues with social media is to do a couple of things
1. Decentralize social media
2. Remove the algorithm behind these social media platforms



Removing the algorithms

Social media platforms are backed by algorithms and are responsible for 'punishing' and 'rewarding' certain things. We don't always know how it works. These codes are always changing. In a more decentralized context, you don't have to worry about the algorithm that no one understands. The power and control are placed more into the users' hands where the users reward other users. This creates a different incentive, you don't have to guess but you are looking at the needs of the users rather than the requirements of the algorithm. The incentive structure is changed to include money (monitory incentives). They basically have an Ethereum based token that works natively on a platform.

Decentralize social media

This is to remove the control from the hands of these centralized entities like the CEOs and the organizations that control the platform, and power is given to the people who actually use the network (the people who post contents and interact with content). One of the benefits to this is that it helps fight the problem with censorship people are complaining about. With the issue of people getting their social accounts banned entirely, decentralization can solve most of these problems. There are a lot of companies that promote decentralized alternative for social media.
An example is Minds.

The main concept behind this platform is that it is reinventing the incentive structure of social media in a way to favour users.

How 'Minds' works



Another benefit of the token is that it changes how users interact with influencers (individuals who have the power to affect the purchase decisions of others). If you want to work with an influencer, you have to connect with them over e-mail or direct message, work on a deal and agree on terms to see if it works. Minds allow you to create bounties for influencers and you can pay them for something they do for you and this can be done automatically. You pay the influencer after getting the desired results.

It also fixes advertising away. On the platform, you can just boost your post natively with the crypto-currency that you have in your account. In this way, you can guarantee that your contents would be seen more in the news feed. It reduces the friction with the activities involved in starting an advertisement. Saves you from the trouble of adding account and including credit card that can be very annoying sometimes. You simply need an account and boost it with crypto-currency on the platform, no need to worry about the extra stuff.

One amazing thing is the entire code is made public(Github) and this platform deems to ensure some form of trust between its peers. Even if you can't understand it yourself, it is a whole new layer of trust. In relation to the advertisement, it means you can trust the entities that show your ads. Now it's not just ads but anything on the platform too.

To talk about how this decentralization can be achieved on a larger scale, there are so many questions that can be asked. How did Minds come about? When you are working with decentralization, there is always tension about what to sacrifice. This is sort of the way any good Dapp (Decentralized Application) is rolled out. The reason for this is that for any small scale Dapp, it would be easy to deploy. But for most consumer-facing applications that have a lot of users, you will require decentralized tools to really create an efficient part of that app.

Minds has great user experience and its not anything that is decentralized has this feature. There is a lot of room to revolutionize social media with decentralization using the blockchain.


More