Are decentralized social platforms the new trend? In this article we learn how the social media industry is moving towards decentralization and go over the top decentralized social networks and discover what makes each one unique.
Social media has become an integral part of our lives. It is self-evident from the fact that there are 4.7 billion active social media users across the world, which is around 59% of the world's population. The current social media ecosystem gives users the power to interact and socialize in different ways through different platforms. However, there is a growing discomfort among social media users about the way such platforms handle privacy, censorship, data sharing, etc.
Social media users are questioning the centralized control of a handful of social media platforms, as they can do whatever they want with users' data. Owing to that, the concept of decentralized social media is buzzing a lot these days. A decentralized social platform is believed to give control back to the users and offer more privacy and monetization freedom. So, let's discuss in detail what a decentralized social network is all about and also list some of the most famous decentralized social media apps.
A decentralized social platform or decentralized social network basically implies such platforms that are built on distributed independently run servers instead of one centralized entity. Blockchain technology is leading the way in building such platforms. They are meant to offer users the same social media experience along with more censorship resistance, more protection of user data, and more freedom of speech. In addition, blockchains like DeSo gives the creators the ability to monetize their content directly from day one.
Decentralized social media apps are an alternative to the current handful of social media apps, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. They operate via independent nodes or servers instead of running through servers that are managed by a central authority. Moreover, such platforms also have NFTs and tokens that help users monetize the content in new ways.
When it comes to centralized social media platforms, we have very limited choices of platforms. But there are a lot of decentralized social platforms to choose from. So, let's discuss 4 most famous decentralized social media platforms and see what key functionalities they have to offer:
DeSo is an open-source decentralized social blockchain that is designed to scale storage-heavy (infinite-state) applications to billions of users to eventually decentralize social media. Since social media apps generate a lot of data, the current blockchains are not capable of storing and indexing that much data. DeSo fills the gap by serving as the only blockchain that can power such infinite-state apps with extremely cheap content storage.
DeSo lets users create one profile and take their identity, social graph, and content across the different apps within the blockchain. Currently, there are many decentralized social media apps built on the DeSo blockchain, such as Desofy (DeSo mobile app), Diamond (Decentralized Twitter), NFTz (Decentralized OpenSea), Stori (Decentralized TikTok), and so on.
All the social graphs and posts on DeSo are stored directly on-chain, which eradicates the concept of censorship or centralization and makes the users owner of their content. Moreover, DeSo empowers users to start monetizing from day one using social tokens, NFTs, DAOs, etc.
Mastodon is another leading decentralized social network that is termed as the open-source alternative to Twitter. Being a decentralized microblogging network, it deploys directly on your own infrastructure and gives you the power to manage your audience without the involvement of any middlemen. Each Mastodon server acts as a completely separate entity, which operates with other servers to eventually build one global social network.
Mastodon is free from ads and supports users to express themselves openly through picture, video, and audio posts, animated avatars, accessibility descriptions, custom emojis, etc. Even if you intend to post podcasts, music, or art, you can do it all with Mastodon.
With Mastodon, decision-making is given back to the users. This implies that every server can create its own set of regulations that are enforced locally. Since Mastodon is acting as the ideal decentralized microblogging network, many Twitter users are now actively shifting to the platform.
The third well-known decentralized social protocol in our list is Lens, which is an open-source and blockchain-based decentralized social graph. Compared to Facebook or Twitter which make use of social graphs to set up interconnections between users in a centralized environment, Lens Protocol is a permissionless social graph that lets users own the connections among themselves and the communities.
The open social graph architecture of Lens Protocol allows any dapp or blockchain-based social media platform to plug into it. In fact, there are already hundreds of decentralized social media apps built via Lens Protocol, such as Lenstube (a decentralized video-sharing platform), Memester (NFT meme platform), etc.
Lens Protocol gives full control to the users. It is you who owns your profile, how you use it, where you use it, and how you monetize it. All the user profiles are established as NFTs, which further allows you to own and maintain your profiles and contents represented as NFTs.
Farcaster is a fully decentralized social network. It gives users the freedom to migrate their social identities across different applications, while also giving developers the freedom to build applications on the network.
There are two main parts of the Farcaster protocol, i.e., an on-chain users' registry to let them receive unique usernames and an off-chain host to let users store social data. In simple words, user identities are stored on-chain via an Ethereum smart contract that helps to leverage the top-notch consistency, composability, and security of Ethereum. On the other hand, data is stored off-chain on user-owned servers also termed Farcaster Hubs.
Creating an account in Farcaster provides a bit of similar experience as having an account on social networks, like Reddit or Twitter. The next version of Farcaster (Farcaster v2) is under development and is expected to release very soon.
Considering the censorship and central control of the current social media platforms, users are getting tired and want to have more freedom. Decentralized social media apps are showing to be a great alternative that not just provides more control of the data to users, but also lets them have more privacy and choices to monetize their content. The best way to experience the offerings of a decentralized social platform is to experience it yourself. So, test out any of the above decentralized social networks and see how decentralized social media is going to play a game-changing role in the social media world within a span of the next few years.