Posts Tagged ‘blockchain and social media’

We’ve written here before about the rise of blockchain, with posts on what it all means… on blockchain’s impact on the supply chain (and hence, ERP)… as well as blockchain’s implications for the future of computer security, among other posts.

Now blockchain is making major inroads into social media.  The timing is interesting given the recent drops in share prices of Facebook and Twitter in late July.  These price drops share a common component across the social media landscape: moderating these feeds becomes very expensive as they scale up.  Both companies are finding out just how expensive, as they hire hundreds of engineers in an effort to thwart purveyors of fake news and web-crawling bots.  In fact, removing many of these ended up lowering overall user counts at both platforms recently, even as costs to manage the effort soared.

In a recent article on a jobsite called AngelList Weekly, the editors point out an innovative solution to the problem: give the users power to self-moderate.  They do this by offering decentralized platforms that often use the more secure blockchain technology.

One, called Steemit now boasts 800,000 users, and while that may pale in comparison to Facebook’s 2 billion plus, it has an interesting twist.  It uses “upvotes” which are tokens that hold real market value, so users, not advertisers, are rewarded for engagement.

Another, called Sapien, built on the popular Etherium blockchain, has thousands of users and features “a global reputation system, a reward system for users, and a marketplace for creators.”

An open source alternative to Twitter with close to 200,000 users claims to “put social media back in your hands” with no ads and no ‘algorithmic feeds’ and runs on community-owned and operated servers.

All of them, while small today, have a common perspective: that centrally moderated sites like Facebook, Twitter and others are “unfair or inconsistent.”  And while Facebook and Twitter aren’t going away, these sites and others like them are growing fast – on blockchains.

The idea of secure, private networks in which all transactions on a system are visible to all users provides a welcome sense of ‘ownership’ when contrasted with the controlled environments that are moderated in the huge cloud-based servers owned by the social giants.  In a way, it represents a return of the internet and social media to their more decentralized and less monetized roots.

It may be too late for these companies to displace Twitter and Facebook, but their scope and their downstream influence on others is bound to grow.  It’s a trend worth watching.

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