Hello, decentralized Social Media Platforms
On the Internet, everything seems constant until we realize that this is nowhere near that. With the development of technology, the most significant change is likely to transition from centralized to decentralized Internet services.
The centralized services today are operated by tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. The structure is centralized, where decisions are made by the boss and implemented by those below it in the hierarchy. Ready. That’s it.
In this context, Wikipedia is also considered centralized, although editors and contributors are scattered worldwide.
The decentralized services are more challenging to define, but two simple examples can be helpful.
The first is email, a network of rules and interconnections that a company or institution does not own, even though a company owns your email provider.
The second is the World Wide Web, a series of protocols on which a massive amount of data is built.
Bitcoin also works in a decentralized way, unless most blockchain miners decide otherwise, which is unthinkable.
The Internet has undergone several fundamental changes since the 1960s, and today more smart people are working on innovation than ever before. There is no good reason to assume that the status quo is sacred; there is plenty of reason to believe otherwise.
The Sacred Algorithm Above All
It would be difficult to pinpoint exactly when we lost control of social media.
2016 was the year Twitter and Instagram joined Facebook and YouTube in the algorithmic future.
Since then, we’ve been guided by programmed robots that keep our attention for as long as possible, promoting things we’d most likely open, share, or lock-in our hearts — and bury everything else.
Goodbye, a feed that shows everything and everyone, in an endless, chronological order. Hello, high-energy feed with lots and lots of ‘must-have’ content to click on.
Around the same time, Facebook – whose feed has been driven by algorithms since 2009 – has hidden the switch back to the “Recent” setting.
At the heart of it all is a huge technological problem, computers are responsible for what we see, and they operate without transparency.
Can we regain control?
What if I said I only wanted to see posts from friends and family or just read news from trusted political sources?
On Facebook, you can set this in your web browser by going to the home page at the top of the feed and then scrolling through the menu on the left. Here you select “More” and then “Most Recent.”
You can find “Most Recent” in the mobile app by clicking on the three horizontal lines in the upper or lower right corner of the screen.
It is impossible to turn off all algorithmic recommendations on YouTube, but you can switch to “Latest Videos” in all categories or search queries. You can also turn off autoplay. Find the tiny play button on the bottom of the video player in your web browser and the little switch on your mobile app’s top.
On TikTok, next to the addictive, algorithmically controlled For You feed, is the Next Feed, which shows only the people you follow. So that you know, TikTok uses algorithms here too to show you the videos they think you want to watch the most.
There is simply no possibility on Instagram. Only algorithms dominate.
Alternative: Decentralized Social Media Platforms
You may be aware that Facebook shares all user data with Whatsapp. You either accept or do not use it. After all, Facebook paid $ 19 billion for a mobile app like Whatsapp that wasn’t successful at all at the time. And Facebook can’t wait for a return on investment, so it shares our data with advertisers, and we get personalized ads.
The good news, though, is that you have a choice. If you’re tired of getting used to or running away from big tech companies’ attitudes, maybe it’s time to try some alternative social media platforms.
These alternative community platforms are open-source, decentralized, and work with P2P, Blockchain technology.
However, they may not offer the same experience as you are used to. In return, they do not infringe on privacy and freedom of expression. This is a compromise.
Currently, Clubhouse is the most popular social media app. I could also say that it is much more than an application, but rather a social experiment on the blockchain.
It only works on an invitation basis and only for Apple, is full of celebrities, and is exclusive. You can’t just download the app and create an account. Like a yacht club, an existing member must invite you to join—virtual elitism at a high level.
How it works is that when you join, you can select topics that interest you, be it technology, books, business, or healthcare. The more information you provide about your interest, the more chat rooms and individuals the app suggests – powered by artificial intelligence, of course – to follow or join.
One chat room is essentially the same as a conference call, with some people chatting and others listening. When the conversation is over, the room closes. Conversations are not recorded, but this does not prevent users from recording live discourses. For example, a YouTube user live-streamed a chat room started by Elon Musk.
In a recent blog post, the creators announced that their goal in 2021 is to complete the app’s beta version and make Clubhouse available to anyone worldwide.
But what has Elon Musk got to do with this?
The Clubhouse has been in operation since March 2020, when it was launched by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth. In May 2020, it had only 1,500 users and was worth $ 100 million.
Last week, however, Elon Musk held an audio conversation at the Clubhouse with Vlad Robinev, CEO of Robinhood, and it immediately became mainstream. The event has crossed the app’s chat room and was streamed live on YouTube. This helped Clubhouse get to the top of the charts, and people would do pretty much anything for an invitation.
On February 1, 2021, Clubhouse had 2 million users. New features have already been announced, such as tips, tickets, or subscriptions that allow you to pay directly to creators within the app.
Minds is a Facebook and/or YouTube alternative, open-source based, works on the blockchain.
On the Minds page, you can share videos, blogs, pictures, and set statuses. You can also securely message, and video chat with groups or directly with your friends. Trendy feeds and hashtags allow you to discover articles that look interesting.
And that’s not all. You also have the option to obtain tokens in exchange for your contribution. With these tokens, you can purchase different memberships with different benefits. Creators can also get direct payments in USD, Bitcoin, and Ether from their fans.
The next is Aether, which I could compare to Reddit. Also open source, P2P.
It can be used primarily by self-regulatory communities, with controllable and non-arbitrary moderation, where moderators are democratically elected by members and held accountably.
The contents of Aether are transient and are only kept for six months unless someone saves it. Because of P2P, there is no centralized server.
Another impressive blockchain-based social network where cryptocurrency governs is KARMA.
KARMA is an open-source blockchain platform, an Instagram clone built on top of EOSIO.
Sharing or liking your content by others is a KARMA token for you. With these tokens, you can then sponsor your content or convert it to fiat currency.
KARMA is a mobile app only available in the Play Store and App Store.
Just for the sake of listing, here are a few more names you can search for.
Don’t blame me that I didn’t say.