First, it was hi5.
Then it was MySpace.
Then Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a plethora of other social media platforms emerged, in an unprecedented wave of personal empowerment, based on the free dissemination of opinion. It's very important to understand that: social media is not about information (as in triple verified information, like the news should be), but opinion, or whatever the heck I want to think about everything.
Although they are different in structure, and they may prioritize different types of content (short text, long-form text, photo, video, etc), all of the above have something in common: the business model. They are making money by offering the user generated data to advertisers. In all of the above platforms, the main product is the user (who, most of the time, has no idea that if you're using something for free, then you must be the product being sold).
Then blockchain came and a new type of social media platform crystallized. One in which access is not for free and user data is not sold to advertisers. Steemit is probably the most common of all, and the most complete. It has more than a million account (out of which about 100,000 are constantly using the platform). There are already countless Steemit clones (the steemd blockchain source is MIT licensed, which means everybody can take it and clone it, just like the initial alt coins built on top of the Bitcoin codebase).
The fundamental difference between Steemit and all the "legacy" social media platform is how value is determined.
I know there's something lingering in the back of your head from the previous paragraph, so before diving too deep, let's make this clear: yes, Steemit is not for free. It may look like it's for free, but it isn't.
- account creation carries a certain cost (the majority of accounts are created by a few accounts pool which are willing to make a business out of it). This will be even more prominent starting with HF 20, from September 25th.
- every blockchain interaction diminishes some resources from the account (right now it's about bandwidth, but again, starting HF 20, there will be a new metric called Resource Consumption, or RC).
Now that we settled that, let's move into some of the fundamental differences between legacy social media platforms (Facebook et al) and decentralized media platforms (Steemit).
Horizontal Influence versus Vertical Influence
Facebook plays the "big numbers" card. The more followers you have, the biggest your influence. If you have a page with 100,000 followers, then you are an influencer. You can brag with these numbers and try to sell advertising (or the potential attention of those 100,000 followers) to big spenders.
Steemit plays the "relevant numbers" card. It doesn't really matter how many followers you have, but it matters how loaded they are. Or how much SP, how much influence they can exert in the platform. You may have 10 followers, but if each of them are upvoting you with enough SP, then you are trending.
Let's call the first model "horizontal influence" and the second one "vertical influence".
The activity on a "horizontal influence" platform will be very different from a "vertical influence" platform.
In the first case, you're chasing as many people as you can, regardless of any other metric.
In the second case, you're chasing only the relevant ones (with the extreme case known as "whale hunting").
How Many Verticals?
As I said, one metric to measure the "depth" of an influencer is the amount of SP. But that only means you have a relevant stake in the platform, nothing more. You're some sort of investor (wait, you are an investor) hoping that the platform itself will bring some ROI in the future. As an investor, you can direct your influence to any actor on the platform, in the direction that you see profitable in the long run. I'm talking here about honest investors, not about those whales gaming the rewards pool, obviously.
But is that enough?
As many controversies on the Steemit platform showed during the last two years, that's not enough. Just because you had so much money to become a relevant stakeholder, and, at some point, you upvoted a shitty author just because he posted a funny meme, well, that doesn't mean the meme's author is valuable. It means that in a certain context, you thought that it was funny.
So, I think we need more verticals here.
One of them was already tackled, and I'm talking about reputation. I wrote a longer article about it here, so feel free to have a look at it. It measure the reputation of a user against the entire ecosystem on the platform.
Another one I think it should be expertise. And we're talking about communities here, about niched content. Hivemind, and all the DApps built on it, may soon come up with a relevant metric here.
And another one I think it should be seniority. It's a metric based on how much time a user spent in the platform, actively. It's a way to recognize early adopters who are still active, as I think they deserve a way to be recognized and rewarded.
And, and that's probably the most surprising feature, all of the above metrics should act as an "amplifier" of an upvote.
For instance, if a somebody gives an upvote worth 10 cents to a user with a high reputation, an expert in its field and also a good, solid early adopter, the actual value received should be somehow multiplied, so instead of 10 cents, the author should receive 13 or 17. That would obviously increase the curation for the upvoter as well.
It's a a bidirectional value exchange, as opposed to the unidirectional way we have right now, which is somehow limited.
I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.
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