It’s early 2018 and most major newspapers show a headline stating that Facebook secretly harvested the data of millions of people. They sold it to Cambridge Analytica who used It primarily to influence people towards a preferred political point of view. It’s the major subject for watercooler talks around the globe and almost everyone is outraged. How could this have happened? Who is to blame? How can we make sure this never happens again? Is what a lot of people later write down in their latest Facebook status update…
It shows how ingrained and dependent we are on social media. Most people know that big companies like Facebook, Google et al. don’t necessarily have the best intentions regarding their users, but are solely focused on next quarter profits. Yet people still use their platforms to such an extent that it borders total addiction.
While social media itself has only been around for 15 years, it still looks prime to evolve using the power of blockchain technology. The entire concept of being able to connect online, sharing life experiences, pictures, video’s and accomplishments likely will never fade. People simply are too curious and interested in other people’s lives, but the way we create and consume content is ready to reach the next step.
In essence, it’s pretty simple: If you don’t have to pay for a particular service or product chances are high that you yourself are being monetized.
Blockchain companies are already solving this problem. They are enabling users to be the sole owner of their content, something that will be forever encrypted and saved on the blockchain. Not only is the new way of ownership one of the advantages of the mix between blockchain and social media, but it also ensures user data is encrypted and protected, not allowing another Cambridge Analytica scandal ever again.
Our data and content will no longer be in control of big corporations. They will not be able to harvest our efforts for their own gains. Better yet, they won’t even be able to mute anyone, creating a perfect censorship-free internet experience, which, we have to admit, also has its own set of problems.
Although this might already seem like an enormous improvement in our current predatory social media system, it is only the start of the revolutionary effect blockchain will have.
Imagine that the content you create is yours, and whenever people view, like, comment or in any other way give it their attention, the digital thumbs up changes into cold hard cash.
You will be monetizing your own content with a direct correlation between the value of your content and the amount of cash you earn.
How utopian it might seem, there already are plenty of companies that have this economic model in action. Steemit, Bittube, and Cent just to name a few. We will write a review on these platforms in the near future.
Entire new ecosystems are made in which views, ‘likes’, comments and other interactions are directly exchanged into tokens that can be exchanged for actual money. Think of them as micro-payments. And not only the content creators are earning some money posting their content, but there are also incentives in place for people curating the content.
Steem, and the recently created Hive, are spearheading the transformation in the Blockchain & Social media space. Both let their users earn cryptocurrency for creating, posting, and curating posts. An intelligent design choice which is called ‘proof of brain’ in combination with in to which extent users are invested in the platform decide the size of the rewards that posts will receive. It’s pretty clever, and they have definitely laid the groundwork for ‘smart social media’. learn more about Steem in this DeepDive
Cent is another platform that is taking the lead in this new content-creating-economy. On the Cent platform, people are rewarded for the amount of interaction they get with their posted content, but not only that, the earliest people actually liking the post and giving it attention also get a share of the revenue that the post will receive. Cent creates an entirely new breed of content consumers. Essentially ‘content-scouts’ looking for the next awesome post that could go viral. They have a pretty ingenious system in place where people that enjoy the content can reward it, hoping more people will reward it on a later date, giving some of the new revenue back to the earlier donators. Check out our review to learn more.
These new economic systems not only make posting content a far more enjoyable experience, but it also causes forced ads to be a thing of the past. There is no middleman like Facebook that uses your content to entice advertisers to play ads in between your posts. Better yet, we already see systems in place where you, the consumer, get paid to watch ads. Companies are valuing your attention. Don’t want to watch any ads altogether? Fine, you won’t see any ads. Want to make a quick buck watching a 15 second add? You got it! It eliminates the intrusive nature of how ads are being shown currently, and it’s a far better way for companies to show their products. People actually accept and acknowledge the ad, which in turn will greatly increase the return on money spent.
We believe that the combination of blockchain and social media will take the latter to the next level. People have been willing to use current systems because they are, in their eyes, free. Being able to own your content, securely and freely, while also making some money in the process will mean the end of the schemes that are in place now. However, social media platforms rely on the network effect, meaning they get more traction and more valuable with every new user. This means it may take some time before they really blow up. And while we see a lot of new platforms being developed it’s still unclear who will become the next big winner in the space. We will continue examining and reviewing the most promising project in this space, and share this knowledge with all of you.