Web3 tech is moving forward very fast and the year 2022 bloomed with innovation. There were so many great projects and ideas but with no real playbook for web3, it is hard to predict what will stick. Nevertheless, there is one particular trend that we believe will boom in 2023 - web3 social media.
What's wrong with social media today?
Before we get into why we think that web3 social media will overtake in 2023 let's explore traditional social media.
When social media first surfaced they created a lot of opportunities. People started to use it for personal branding, the discovery of their business, enhancing marketing strategy, selling products, communicating with customers on a more personal level and so on.
The beginnings were truly amazing. The promise was to get in front of your fans and potential customers with zero or very low costs plus the potential to grow your business were huge especially if you joined early.
But those days are now in the past. Nowadays, brands' organic posts get in front of 5-10% of their followers on platforms like Facebook and brands actually have to pay platforms to get in front of their fans and customers. Advertising costs are growing each year and the only beneficiates are the platforms themselves.
These platforms which are privately owned are focusing on their revenue instead of their users. One example would be data collection. Meta has on average around 7000 information points about one user. That is mindblowing. Most of us cannot say that many things about ourselves. This led to some scandals like the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Where data was used in political elections.
Another example would be the algorithms of these platforms that push sensational content to keep their users on the platform. Because the more time they spend on the platform the more money the platform can make from advertising. These algorithms are strengthing polarization. Once they discover your interests they take you down the rabbit hole and won’t show you opposing views and further strengthen your beliefs.
The centre of social media is its creators and users but creators are getting only a tiny fraction of the profit these platforms are making. So creators have to find other ways to monetize their efforts such as creating merchandise or paid content.
What is the promise of web3 social media?
Web3 social media platforms offer a number of benefits for users. First and foremost, decentralization means that these platforms are not controlled by a single company or entity. This leads to greater transparency and autonomy within the platform.
Web3 platforms also give users more control over their data and privacy, which is especially important in today's digital landscape where data breaches and scandals on centralized platforms are all too common.
Additionally, decentralization makes it harder for web3 platforms to be censored, as there is no central authority that can remove content or block users. This allows for greater freedom of expression and open discussion.
Web3 platforms are also often built on open protocols, which allows them to be easily connected with other platforms and applications. This creates a more seamless and integrated user experience. Let’s explore a few web3 social media platforms/protocols which have already gained some traction.
Mastodon is a decentralized social media platform made up of independent servers organized around specific themes or interests. It allows users to engage in conversations, follow each other, and do many of the things they would do on a platform like Twitter.
Mastodon servers are like mini social networks or forums, and users can choose to join a general server or one centred around a specific topic or industry. Because of its decentralizion it is not operated by a single company, but rather made up of thousands of independent servers.
Additionally, because Mastodon is run by a non-profit, it has no advertising, no built-in monetization, and no algorithms. When people are leaving Twitter than they most often choose Mastodon as its replacement.
Lens Protocol is a decentralized social media graph that aims to give users more control over their digital identities and content. It uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to allow users to retain ownership of their profiles and can be integrated with other social media platforms, allowing users to easily transfer their content and followers between them.
The platform allows users to monetize their content and is built on top of the Polygon blockchain. It is currently in private beta with more than 100,000 profiles minted. The platform is designed to be web3 native and runs on the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) to ensure the immutability of content.
There are already several apps on the Lens protocol. Let’s look at a few closely.
Lenster was the first app built on the Lens protocol. It allows users to post publicly using a username and wallet address. No personal information beyond this is collected.
The Lens team does not have the ability to moderate user posts or access sensitive information. Users are responsible for the content they post, and must sign everything they do in the app. Lenster is hosted on a decentralized chain and file storage system, which makes it resistant to downtime and DDoS attacks.
Orb is a decentralized professional social media app. It allows web3 working professionals to connect with companies, projects, and other people and has an end-to-end on-chain credibility system.
The app has a user-friendly interface and allows for gasless and signless interactions using the Lens Protocol. It is designed to allow users to create decentralized professional profiles and build on-chain credibility by linking NFTs and POAPs to their experiences, education, skills, and projects.
Lenstube is an open-source web3 video-sharing platform that is built on top of the Lens protocol. It allows creators to upload and permanently store their content on Polygon using the Arweave network.
The platform has low gas fees and allows creators to monetize their content, while viewers can support their favourite creators by minting content and joining channels through memberships and tips.
There are many more that you can explore at https://www.lens.xyz/apps.
Farcaster is a decentralized social network built on an open protocol. Similarly to the Lens protocol, people can build their own social media on top of it. This allows users to migrate their social identities between different applications and developers to build new features on the network.
On Farcaster, users can send short text message broadcasts that are connected to their Ethereum address. Verifying ownership of the address enables various features, including displaying a user's NFT and using it as a verified avatar. There are currently several applications available on the Farcaster protocol, including Instacaster, Searchcaster, CastRSS, and Configcaster.
The protocol consists of an on-chain registry for unique usernames and an off-chain host for storing social data, as well as a host URL system similar to DNS. To access user messages, the registry must be queried for the host URL, which can then be used to request the user's messages.
There are more web3 social media apps being developed. Just to mention a few:
- mirror.xyz - web3 counter part to Medium, which leverages cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies
- diamondapp.com - social network that mixes investments with social media, and it’s built from the ground up as its own custom blockchain
- joincircle.xyz - social platform for web3 communities focusing on seamless experiences, security, and organic conversations
- mintflick.network - web3 counterpart to Patreon and Onlyfans
- chingari.io - web3 counterpart to TikTok
- d.tube - web3 counterpart to YouTube
People are realizing more and more what is wrong with our current social media and we expect their web3 counterparts to take over in 2023. Which one will be most successful? That is up to the users to decide.