Decentralized Social Media: Why Businesses Should Care And The Opportunities

January 5, 2023

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In terms of users worldwide, social media companies have experienced a phenomenal rise over the past 15 years. Traditional social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram have become an integral part of our daily life. 

These platforms are used by people to form groups, foster relationships, and stay in touch with long-distance pals. Furthermore, brands and content creators utilize it to create communities, engage with their audiences, and raise brand awareness.

However, in order to become the market's biggest player and generate as much revenue as possible. Most of these centralized platforms have strayed from their original purpose and altered their business models to focus on making money.

Problems and challenges with centralized social media networks

Traditional social networks can pose several problems and challenges for brands and content creators:

  • Lack of control
    Brands and content creators have little control over the content they post on centralized social networks, as they are subject to the rules and regulations of the platform. This can lead to censorship of certain types of content or viewpoints.
  • Centralized censorship
    Big tech companies control major social platforms, and a small group of people within these companies sets the rules of engagement. Some perfectly valid campaigns get caught in Facebook’s censorship algorithms, with affected users suddenly feeling completely stripped of their right to free speech.
  • Data breaches
    Centralized social networks are vulnerable to data breaches and privacy violations, as all of the data is stored in a central location that can be easily hacked or accessed without permission.
  • Algorithms
    Centralized social media networks often use algorithms to show curated feed to users, which can result in bias and unequal distribution of content created on the platform. This can be particularly challenging for smaller brands or content creators who may not have as much visibility.
  • Greater dependency on the platform
    Brands and content creators can become reliant on centralized social media networks for distribution and engagement, which can make it difficult to pivot or change strategies if the platform changes its policies or algorithms.
  • Difficulty monetizing content for content creators
    It can be difficult for brands and content creators to monetize their content on centralized social media networks, as they often have limited control over the terms and conditions of monetization.
  • Limited reach
    Centralized social media networks may limit the reach of certain types of content or brands, which can make it difficult for them to grow their audience or reach their target market.

Decentralized social media networks: A new way for online social interaction

A decentralized social network are blockchain-based social networks that allow users to connect and communicate with each other but without the need for a central server or authority to host and manage the network. Instead, the network is decentralized and operates on a peer-to-peer (P2P) basis, with users interacting directly with each other rather than through a central server.

This allows users to have greater control over their own data and content. This offers increased security and privacy. Decentralized social media platforms also offer new opportunities for brands and content creators to connect with their audiences in a more secure and flexible way.

Decentralized social networks work by using web3 technologies, such as blockchain networks, to store and transmit data. In a decentralized system, the data is not stored in a central location but rather is distributed among a network of computers.

Users of decentralized social media networks can interact with each other and share content in a similar way to traditional social media platforms. However, because the data is stored on a decentralized network, it is not controlled by a single entity or organization.

The users of decentralized social networks typically access the platform through a web or mobile app. The app connects to the decentralized network and allows users to create and share content, view and interact with other users' content, and join communities to participate in various activities.

Decentralized social networks can also use cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens or other forms of digital assets to reward users for creating and sharing high-quality content. This can be a new revenue stream for brands and content creators on the platform.

Overall, decentralized social media networks offer users more control, security, and freedom to express themselves online, while also providing new opportunities for brands and content creators to connect with their audiences.

Benefits of decentralized social media networks

  • Data security and user privacy
    Decentralized networks can offer greater security and privacy for brands and content creators, as the data is not stored in a central location that can be easily hacked or accessed without permission.
  • Greater user control
    Brands and content creators have more control over the content they post on decentralized social networks, as these networks are not subject to the same rules and regulations as traditional platforms and can foster independently without a central authority. The benefits include censorship resistance, ownership over personal data, and improved control over user-generated content.
  • Greater reach and engagement
    Decentralized social media networks can offer brands and content creators access to reach and engage with a larger, more diverse audience, as they are not limited by geography or language.
  • New monetization opportunities
    Brands and content creators can potentially monetize content on decentralized social networks through the use of cryptocurrency, creating social tokens, or by token gating access to a community. This can also be used to reward users for creating and sharing high-quality content.
  • Greater freedom of expression
    Decentralized social media platforms offer greater freedom of expression for brands and content creators, as they are not subject to the same censorship policies as traditional platforms.
  • Interoperability between different social media platforms
    This is one of the primary differences between decentralized social networks and popular social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. For example, Twitter only allows users to send and receive messages to other people with Twitter accounts (e.g. Twitter users can’t send messages to Facebook accounts because there is no cross-platform alignment). Decentralized networks, on the other hand, allow users to engage across different platforms through a single wallet-based identity.

How to build a decentralized social media network

Building a decentralized social media network is a complex and time-consuming process that requires a strong understanding of web3 fundamentals, blockchain technology and the needs and goals of the target users.

It is important to carefully plan and execute each step in order to create successful and sustainable alternative platforms with regard to centralized social networks.

Building a decentralized social network involves several steps:

  • Determining the purpose and goals of your social media platform
    Before building a decentralized social media network, it is important to determine the purpose and goals of the network. This will help guide the development and design of the platform.
  • Choosing the right blockchain technology
    There are several blockchain networks that can be used to build a decentralized social media network. It is incredibly important to choose the technology that best fits the needs and goals of the network.
  • Designing and developing the social media platform
    Once the right technology stack has been chosen, the next step is to design and develop the platform. This will involve creating the user interface, defining the features and functionality of the platform, and building the infrastructure to support the decentralized social network.
  • Test and debug the platform
    It is important to thoroughly test and debug the platform before launching it to ensure that it is stable and functional. This may involve conducting user testing and gathering feedback from potential users.
  • Launch and promote the network
    Once the platform is ready, it is time to launch the network and promote it to potential users. This may involve creating marketing strategies and building partnerships with influencers or other organizations.

5 Best decentralized social media platforms

1. Steem

decentralized social network steem

Steem blockchain is a decentralized, open-source blockchain that allows for the creation and distribution of digital assets, such as cryptocurrency. It is the underlying technology that powers the Steem decentralized social media platform.

The Steem blockchain is designed to be fast, scalable, and energy-efficient, making it well-suited for use in a social media context. It uses a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, which means that users can earn rewards for validating transactions and contributing to the security of the network.

The Steem blockchain is also integrated with a built-in rewards system that pays users in Steem cryptocurrency for creating and sharing high-quality content on the Steem social media platform. This helps to incentivize users to create and share valuable content and encourages the growth and development of the Steem community.

2. Lens Protocol

homepage of lens protocol

Lens Protocol is a decentralized social media platform that uses blockchain technology to store and transmit data. It is based on the Ethereum blockchain, which is a decentralized, open-source blockchain that allows for the creation and distribution of smart contracts and other digital assets.

Lens Protocol allows users to create and share content, view and interact with other users' content, and participate in various activities and communities. The platform also has a built-in rewards system that pays users in Lens tokens, a cryptocurrency, for creating and sharing high-quality content.

Lens Protocol aims to create a more secure and transparent social media platform that gives users greater control over their own data and content. It also offers new opportunities for brands and content creators to connect with their audiences in a more flexible way.

3. Mastodon

homepage of Mastodon

Mastodon is a free, open-source decentralized social networking platform. It is based on the ActivityPub protocol, which is an open standard for decentralized social communication. Mastodon allows users to create and join "instances," which are essentially communities or groups within the larger Mastodon network. Each instance has its own rules and moderation policies, and users can choose to join the instance that best aligns with their interests and values.

Mastodon is similar to other social networking platforms in that it allows users to create profiles, post content, and interact with other users through likes, comments, and private messages. However, because it is decentralized, Mastodon is not controlled by a central authority and users have more control over their own data and privacy.

Mastodon has a focus on community and inclusivity, and it has a code of conduct that prohibits harassment and discrimination. It has also gained popularity among users who are seeking an alternative to mainstream social networking platforms that may have more restrictive content policies or data privacy practices.

4. DTube

homepage of DTube

DTube is a decentralized video-sharing platform that allows users to upload, share, and view videos, as well as earn cryptocurrency for their contributions to the platform. DTube has a focus on privacy and freedom of expression, and it does not have any content restrictions or censorship policies

DTube is similar to other video-sharing platforms in many ways, but it has some key differences. Because it is decentralized, DTube does not rely on a central server to host and manage the platform. Instead, it uses the IPFS to store and distribute the videos, and the Steem blockchain to track user contributions and facilitate rewards. This means that users have more control over their own data and content, they can earn cryptocurrency for their contributions to the platform.

5. Audius

homepage of audius

Audius is a decentralized music streaming platform that allows users to discover, listen to, and share music, as well as earn cryptocurrency for their contributions to the platform. Audius is similar to other music streaming platforms in many ways, but it has some key differences.

Because it is decentralized, Audius does not rely on a central server to host and manage the platform. This means that users have more control over their own data and content. Users can earn cryptocurrency for their contributions to the platform.

Audius has a focus on supporting independent artists and giving them greater control over their music and how it is distributed. It allows artists to upload and distribute their music directly to the platform, and they can set their own terms for how their music is used and shared.

Read more: 8 Best Music NFT Marketplaces In 2022 For Artists To Sell Music

The future of social media platforms

Decentralized social media platforms have the potential to disrupt and transform the traditional social media landscape by offering increased security and privacy, and greater control for users. Meanwhile, also offering new revenue streams, greater accessibility, and new opportunities for brands, as well as content creators.

While the future of decentralized social platforms is uncertain, they have the potential to significantly impact and shape the way we communicate and interact online. As such, it will be interesting to see how decentralized social media platforms evolve and whether they gain widespread adoption in the future.

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