There’s a famous quote by Vladimir Lenin on revolutions that reads as follows:
“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”
In the social media space, it feels as if these past two weeks may represent the start of the rapid unwinding of centralized big tech control, and the beginning of a social media revolution.
Over the past few years, there has been a general consensus building that social media has become increasingly bad for everyone outside of the big tech companies, but few people could pinpoint the core reason WHY.
That was until one of the most notable businessmen of our time, Elon Musk, decided to go directly to the heart of the issue with this Twitter poll:
A whopping 82.7% of the 1.1 Million voters agreed that Twitter’s algorithms should be open source.
Clearly Elon’s tweet resonated with a lot of people, but few could have guessed that it would have resonated so strongly with the founder of Twitter himself.
Just over a week after the Elon poll, Jack took to his platform to announce that “centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet,” in a shocking display of atonement
What made this sequence of tweets so astonishing, was how aligned Elon & Jack were on the core issue:
Social media identities, content, and algorithms should not be centralized under a few large tech companies, but rather be built upon an open source and decentralized protocol.
While it is one thing to diagnose this problem and propose a possible solution, it’s another to go out and build it. Jack has started putting his money where his mouth is with a social media project called “Blue Sky,” however since the announcement in 2019, there have been few public developments.
In parallel, other players have begun to enter the space and are attempting to take on this juggernaut of a challenge. One project in particular that is starting to stand out is the DeSo (short for “Decentralized Social”) blockchain.
DeSo is an open source protocol, built for decentralized social media apps. Unlike apps by big tech companies, when a user joins DeSo, all of their followers and content are automatically stored on the DeSo blockchain.
What this means is that no single app (like Twitter) controls a user’s data, which allows them to seamlessly take their followers and content between apps, and eliminates the risk of de-platforming or censorship.
Furthermore, DeSo allows creators to directly monetize their audience (versus receiving scraps through creator programs), and empowers any developer in the world to quickly launch an app that taps into all of the users on the blockchain.
With Elon taking a 9% stake in Twitter and Jack’s continued influence over the company he created, it will be interesting to watch the development of decentralized social media protocols like DeSo as the space heats up.
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