What if the data or content you shared on social media was your property and possibly, a source for revenue generation?
Not too long ago, the social media giants of old were overthrown. 90’s kids will remember Orkut, MySpace and Friendster being left behind in the dust by Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. What happened? How were profitable companies with large user-bases suddenly reduced to nothing? The answer is simple; CHANGE.
In the digital world, everything moves fast. Users like you and I are sharing things faster than ever, data is being generated at an unimaginable rate, and the Next Big Thing has already been replaced (possibly, forgotten.) In a world like this, companies constantly need to renew their services and the nature of their services according to user needs and wants or risk falling into ruin.
Now more than ever, people are concerned about what they’re really paying with to use these seemingly free services. That’s one of the reasons why websites keep telling you that their privacy policies have been updated because Facebook’s 2018 data leak showed us that we’re all paying with our own personal data. We now know that there are many applications for the data we generate on a day-to-day basis and there are corporations that are willing to invest big money to get access to this data. So as long as we continue using social media, our data is going to be sold to these corporations. But what if we had an alternative, lesser evil?
Welcome to the digital world post-blockchain. If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re already well aware of what blockchain is but for those who don’t know, you can read up all about it over on here. In simple words, blockchain allows authentic verification of identities, information, and data. Thus, it can be used to improve social media by giving you ownership of your own data, for one thing.
This new change is exactly what Facebook and other current social media giants will need to incorporate into their services or risk being replaced. New social media websites based on blockchain are already popping up in Silicon Valley and they all seem to have a few, common selling-points, more or less:
Decentralized – Immune to censorship
Chances are, you and I live in parts of the world where sites like Facebook & YouTube are readily available. But there are parts of the world where certain social media sites are banned or censored. But sites like Sapien are based on blockchain so a decentralized architecture makes it almost immune to blocking and censorship. Without a central authority, the network cannot be shut down. Hurrah for free speech!
Tokenized – Incorporates cryptocurrency
In simple words, tokenization means that you can split something into parts and give each part a unique value. Like collectible digital cats and dogs, for example. New social media websites like Sapien, Sola, and Steem are based on SPN tokens, SOL tokens, and STEEM tokens respectively.
It gets a bit complicated so let’s think of the tokens like points. These points hold micro-values like a sort of virtual currency. But since the tokens are tied to a cryptocurrency, they have the potential to be exchanged into hard cash. This has a very important application, which brings us to our last point.
Incentivized – Reward-based content creation
Today’s social media platforms profit off our data. Our information is used for targeted advertising so it’s clear that the more data they harvest from us, the more ads they can show to us. That’s the only way to please their shareholders.
If the middle-man was removed and you were responsible for your data, not only could you be as active or passive about your data-sharing as you wanted without fear of your data being harvested without regulation all the time, you could also get paid for the content you create and post on social media directly from the advertiser.
Let’s go back to the tokens/points. These points would be awarded to users for liking, commenting, sharing, creating content and much more. These points would later be converted to the equivalent cryptocurrency amount and withdrawn by the user through an exchange. You would be getting paid to use social media!
The incorporation of blockchain technology in many existing platforms and services is inevitable. I believe we’re all overdue for a shift into a new world of social media where we are the owners and masters of our data and content. Although the aforementioned ventures are still young and require quite a bit of work before they’re able to compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter; just remember that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.