Shareholders of social media platforms made billions of dollars from user-generated content. The content creators? They made nothing big. What if blockchain could change this? Here is an overview of social media platforms on blockchain.
Attention economy 101
As content has grown increasingly abundant and immediately available, attention becomes the limiting factor in the consumption of information. Attention is a scarce commodity making up the most valuable resource in today’s online world. It is consumed when we engage in doing something and saved by any decision not to do something.
When it comes to social media, users seem to exhibit more and more mindfulness about efficient ways to engage their attention. In this context, the idea of a social media sharing its ads revenues with its users has already been tested for a while.
Early stage rewarding social media
For example, Tsu social media launched in 2014 has got a lot of media attention for its hybrid model of sharing ad revenue with users. In addition to giving people credit for how many page views their content receives, Tsu also compensates content creators for recruiting newcomers to join the site, which resembles a pyramid.
Bubblews is a social media that pays people who contribute to the site based on how popular their content is. Like Tsu, it’s based on advertising revenue. The site says each content creator typically gets about a penny for each page view or interaction with their content.
Another example is Bonzo Me, a social media that says it compensates users for creating videos or watching commercial videos. Such social media have not been massively successful so far mainly because of insignificant user earnings and poor app development.
Yet new business models are being built around blockchain technology. They aim to empower and reward they users instead of exploiting their attention for the sole financial benefit of their shareholders.
Blockchain social media
The Steem blockchain flips the traditional social media model and returns the value to the people who contribute the most. Users become platform stakeholders and earn crypto-assets rewards for each contribution they make.
Created early in 2016, Steem is reportedly processing more transactions than Ethereum and Bitcoin taken together. And it’s already used by more than 1 million people, with at least 324 Steem-based dapps. Notorious ones are Steemit and Dtube.
Steemit is a Facebook-like dapp on Steem blockchain where every user gets a Steem crypto-asset reward for publishing and curating content. That is promoting posts using the upvote functionality, akin to Facebook’s likes. Posts are censorship resistant, comments and upvotes are charge-free and generate an number of tokens for the user who originates it. This encourages users to participate and interact with other users.
Dtube is a Youtube-like dapp on Steem blockchain. It works quite exactly like Steemit, except that it is dedicated to video sharing.
Sapien.network is a web3 social network that gives users control of their data, reward content creators, and fight fake news. Highly customizable, it’s built on Ethereum and is marketed as an alternative to Facebook and Google, whose traditional model is considered obsolete and dangerous by some influencers.
Another example of blockchain-based social media is Indorse.io, a linkedin-like platform built on Ethereum. It leverages a mix of AI-based systems and consensus for skills validation. All claims are verified, and users are rewarded for endorsing the skills of other users.
Even though decentralized systems are not yet very ready to grow and scale for the masses according to Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio, it’s worth the wait. In a Bloomberg interview, he said that these technologies will eventually become more important than the internet and disrupt every sector.
Check the full version of Blockchain Quarterly (Q1 2019) report for more Insights.