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It’s beginning to become more common than you think–just add, “de,” to the front of a word to morph it into a web3 term. “De,” is short for ‘decentralized’ which represents one of the core values that blockchain technology seeks to prioritize. Since Bitcoin’s inception, followers have touted it as a decentralized currency. Naturally, as with any arbitrage asset, it didn’t take long for decentralized finance, also known as DeFi, to pick up steam and spark a new wave of blockchain companies.


The next big opportunity as many people see it is decentralized social communities. Imagine today’s social media without the big technology overlords managing, utilizing, and selling your personal data to god-knows-who… Additionally, decentralized social returns value back to the content creators through smart contract design, media rights, and scarcity.

Decentralized social media would inherently give power back to the participants and members of the community. Social media users, media creators, content writers, artists, philanthropists, and dreamers could leverage a decentralized social media platform like never before. With data security as a major concern in today’s age of social media and digitization, users or members of a decentralized social network would also benefit from greater security and privacy features. Decentralized social media, now being referred to as DeSo, could be the next big thing–but how feasible is it, what are the associated hurdles to this concept, and what are the costs and opportunities?


Decentralized Social Media – What Is It & Is It Feasible?

Decentralized social media is more than feasible and as a matter of fact, it’s already in action thanks to brilliant web3 entrepreneurs. DeSo is a deviation from the normal social media platforms where the technology platform owns user data, creates shady algorithms, and capitalizes on profiting from creators. DeSo is a form of a social network that is redefining not only how people use a platform and interact within that network, but also how this network is scaled and hosted. The key to decentralized social networks is building with blockchain technology that creates an environment where community members have autonomy of privacy, security, and content rights. Just as it is in today’s world with TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etcetera, DeSo will have different types of social networks. A few examples of this are Audius, Entre, and Diamond which are decentralized social mediums catering towards different web3 users and web2 creators.


Decentralized Social Media – Separating Structure From Platform

Decentralized social media is a concept that defines how a social network is designed. DeSo should not be correlated to one or any particular decentralized social network. Just like Twitter is not the entirety of centralized social media, Entre is not the entirety of decentralized social media. Consider decentralized social media as a new-era structure for building a social media network; a structure where the foundation of said network is built using a decentralized technology such as blockchain. Stopping here in terms of conceptualizing what DeSo is would be errant though. One must also consider that decentralized social media is a concept where social networks exist to serve the communities and users who enhance them. DeSo is a concept where the structure of the network and mission of the organization primes content creators, platform users, groups, artists, and figures to forge their own path to success while maintaining ownership, autonomy, and privacy as they like. Lastly, A decentralized social media network is a type of business, and businesses cannot exist without creating value for themselves and their consumers. Ultimately, decentralized social media should prioritize monetization for network users vs. optimizing profits for company shareholders


Decentralized Social Media – Main Challenges & Hurdles

Just noted, a decentralized social network would exist as a business, where it be one seeking profit or a nonprofit organization. Regardless of the backend structure in place, decentralized social networks need to generate revenue to scale the network and better serve the community. Doing this while prioritizing the platform’s users’ best interests and their monetization opportunities gets tricky, but several DeSo platforms are tackling this challenge through token offerings. If a DeSo’s platform users utilize the network and leverage the platform’s token, then said decentralized social network can seek to scale and thrive.


With plenty of competitors rushing to the DeSo space, decentralized social media may take a while to really take off as new entrants create market demands and demonstrate preferences. In today’s era, several social media platforms coexist happily in the web2 social realm. We expect the same trend to continue in web3 with a handful of market leaders finding significant market share through UI/UX innovation. Like web3 DeSo participants, new DeSo companies need to understand how their platforms can be affected by macro factors influencing the blockchain industry like local regulation, KYC protocols, and long term integration capabilities.


Decentralized Social Media – Costs & Opportunities

From a user perspective, being a participant in a decentralized social network has greater costs such as hosting one’s own data. A key element of web3 and DeSo is true ownership & privacy of one’s content and data–yet, this is not free and does come at a cost to the users. Businesses in the DeSo space should respect user privacy and therefore may find less revenue generating opportunities vs a web2 social site. In turn, DeSo organizations must evaluate costs internally to assure the network can scale appropriately in this tricky, novel blockchain environment.


For all the new costs and hurdles associated with decentralized social media, there exist several exciting opportunities, particularly for users. By owning one’s content and data, the possibilities to generate revenue and monetize content becomes more viable. It also creates a scenario where free market laws must be observed by DeSo participants and can be exploited based on market variables. Direct access to the market (the decentralized social network) eliminates some control by centralized entities, like how Facebook & Instagram stand in between content creators and their monetization freedoms. Many of the opportunities in DeSo have not been uncovered yet, but with the rapid innovation flowing through the web3 industry, this blockchain product is likely to evolve before our eyes in the near future.


Decentralized Social Media – A Summary

Decentralized social media is already here and is quickly generating interest. Consumers, businesses, and investors have shown a shared interest in the social media revolution thanks to DeSo. Where DeSo will go in the next few years remains largely a mystery. While decentralized social media will certainly master the challenges that accompany such a tricky structure, which DeSo organizations will master them first? As we have seen, web3 users and enthusiasts welcomed and adopted NFTs with truly passionate demand. Will the same users continue this trend and catalyze powerful market demand for the user benefits DeSo networks have to offer?


One thing is for sure: you can’t take your eyes off reimagined niches in the web3 industry. DeSo is definitely one of these niches to keep on the radar. Additionally, more decentralization is preferred by proponents of blockchain technology and it’s nearly anti-cultural to be centralized in the web3 space. Only time will tell!