We are living more and more of our lives online (sometimes it even scares me). Social networks has brought us closer together, enriched our business relationships, and even made us more productive (let’s just pretend that all of this is true). But do you know that most of these platforms are “centralized”? It means that there is only one entity responsible for your account access. You lost access to any content you choose to upload (or share) privately (or publicly) on their platform. But even so, many users aren’t crazy at the idea of large entities controlling access to their content, which has resulting in many ownership claims that get recycled from time to time. It’s a valid concern, especially when the platform isn’t 100% clear on how they will use your content, primarily for monetization efforts.

sheldon-cooper

But there is a way out…

Decentralized social network seems to be the logical next step in the evolution of social media. The goal is to empower the users to retain ownership of their identity and the information they create – in stark contrast to the social networks currently in existence. Decentralized social network has no company with servers behind it storing user updates. One or more companies only make and improve the open source software utilized by users and organizations to collaboratively create the network through the process of using it. Further, as there is no central entity trying to profit from the network, value generated on the network stays in the hands of the users creating it.

A positive benefit to a decentralized system is the ability to launch your own version of the software on a private system for you and your friends. This means you don’t have to worry about sharing that content outside of your server. For instance, blockchain-based social networks can ensure authenticity of who authored some content but keeping your data private would rely on a large network of shared encryption keys. In the case of blockchain-based groups, it can be difficult or impossible to ever delete your content.

On the other hand, information overload is a real and present issue. Decentralized social network is attempting to manage information flow in the network using a special approach, optimizing users’ ability to put their attention span to good use in a way that respects their time and reflects their preferences. It’s very useful, isn’t it?

So I suppose we need, now more than ever, social networks where we can share without the fear of censorship and surveillance. If all you are interested in is watching cats climbing, jumping and walking upside down, then there is no need to worry. If not, you should start thinking about decentralized social networks.

04 January 2018