Social media has taken over all aspects of human lives. From socializing to planning for work and school, virtually all of the human interaction takes place or is facilitated by, social media in some form. Some recent studies which have tried to come up with estimates on the use of social media by teenagers and young adults have come back with some very staggering figures. According to these studies, teenagers spend as much as 9 hours every day interacting with various social media platforms.
Naturally, then, these social media platforms are privy to a lot of personal user information that is very valuable to advertisers on the web. Corporations spend vast amounts of money in analyzing this information to gain insights into the behaviors, preferences, habits, and connections of their users. Therefore, this information is very valuable to advertisers because it allows them to place ‘targeted’ ads to their target demographic. This has led all of the big social media platforms to extensively data mine their users for more insights into their behavior patterns. Another big problem faced by these social media platforms is that genuine content producers, who create new content to bring value to the network, are almost never get paid fairly for their work. Facebook is notorious for letting their bigger pages get away with intellectual property theft quite regularly. This stems from the inability to accurately track ownership rights, something that blockchains are very good at.
Therefore, a decentralized version of these social media platforms provides a lot of benefits over the traditional model where the users are the product. Blockchain-based social media platforms provide a very high degree of privacy and data security for their users. Users have absolute control over their personal information as no centralized service is responsible for maintaining the service. Also, as there is an in-platform currency, payments are very easily made fairer. Blockchain-based social media platforms have remained conscientious about making sure that content creators get their fair share of compensation for the work they do by tracking ownership rights. Let’s take a look at some of the top blockchain based social networks.
Steemit is the most popular social media platform that runs on top of the Steem blockchain. Steem was created by the founder of EOS, Dan Larimer, and can handle more transactions per second than both Bitcoin and Ethereum combined. Steemit is unique in that it combines the functionality of Facebook and Reddit to provide a unique experience to its users. Steemit users can earn cryptocurrency for their posts, pictures, music, and videos. Similar to Reddit, Steemit has ‘upvote’ and ‘downvote’ functionality which helps determine the popularity, and therefore, the payment for any given post. Since its inception in June 2016, the Steemit platform has paid out an estimated $22 million in payments to its users. In this model, instead of companies like Facebook earning money for their users’ contributions, the users themselves are paid for the work that they do on the platform. This is good for the long-term growth of the platform as it provides a healthy incentive to the content creators to develop new content regularly.
Synereo is another social media project in the cryptocurrency space whose main goal is to ensure that content creators get fairly compensated for their work regardless of where they publish it. To that end, they have developed their first tool, WildSpark, which provides a new way for original content to be monetized. Synereo is proposing to create an “Attention Economy” where WildSpark will track how a piece of original content is being used over the web. Synereo aims to build a distributed meta-layer on top of existing media hubs and social networks like Reddit, Imgur, Medium, YouTube, etc. In this new model, users are incentivized to create new content by being paid in the networks native currency, AMP.
The Obsidian Platform
The obsidian platform provides end-to-end encryption using a custom Stratis blockchain. Additionally, it has privacy enhancing features like timed auto delete, history purge, and no metadata collection. Because it uses blockchain to ensure data integrity, it is much more resistant to tampering than traditional messenger services like WhatsApp and iMessage.