What Ideal Might Look Like (Opinion)
A common difference between approaches listed here is whether or not there’s a token to reward users for their content creation. Steemit pioneered this with its currency steem and the social network steemit. Without getting too deep into how things worked at steemit, it’s fair to say that these tokens monetize “likes.” The more people who like your content, the more currency you get.
The pull of near-instant content monetization is very strong. That said, current approaches make a crucial mistake: awarding/selling tokens founders, the company or investors. This model actually prevents the network from scaling by putting the company/founders/investors in a position of earning from the value represented by user’s creative work. It slows the growth of the community, and harms the utility of the token as an actual currency. Instead, The token should be a reward from the network showing appreciation for human creativity, and that’s all it should ever be awarded for. The highest quality content will get the most likes, and therefore get the most rewards.
The successful decentralized social network will have a token, but that the token will only ever be rewarded for posts (or possibly staking to pay for the operation of network infrastructure.) A company (or companies?) built around this model would likely earn by creating interfaces to the underlying system and selling ad space on those interfaces, similar to how Facebook and Twitter currently profit. This model prevents the kind of token dilution seen at Steemit, which owned the majority of the Steem token in the beginning and has been slowly selling it off. It also opens the door to network effects, because the platform treats everyone equally. “Spam” should be prevented by charging transaction fees to post new messages.
Identity would be a key product of a network like this. Users could participate with just a keypair, or post their identity and have their friends confirm it.
Decentralized & incentivized social media could be created by one company, but if that single entity dominates the platform economically or technologically, it’s in fact just as centralized as current systems, so it’s important that whatever is built is built in a way that multiple entities can easily interact with, likely by providing front ends.
A highly effective system for rewarding uncensored thought online would likely lead to a great step forward for humanity in general.