Facebook, Steemit and Social Media’s Decentralized Future

A thoughtful article mentioning Steemit has recently appeared at CoinDesk. The author reflects on how social media can be transformed for good from their current state which he describes very vividly with the words I can only agree with:

The platform he [Zuckerberg] oversaw has killed inquisitiveness and open-mindedness, promoted form over substance, undermined the journalistic pursuit of facts and damaged our democracy — all in the interest of gathering and organizing our data so that we could be sold off as packages to platform advertisers.

Blockchain can be part of the solution by fixing the problems of centralised online media, such as the unashamed exploitation of user content and personal data with zero reward.

In my modest opinion, sometimes things are even better than the author supposes. He says:

Any truly decentralized blockchain won’t have the on-chain capacity to handle the masses of data and billions of posts that any large-scale system would run.

EOS claims it has this capacity. In fact, it’s being built with Facebook-size apps in mind. In its recent release, Dawn 3.0, they have moved from a Steem-like 3 second block interval to a 0.5 second interval, and announced that «Dawn 3.0 only implements a fraction of the potential optimizations that will allow EOSIO to scale.» So, in my view, scaling is only a short-term problem.

Another point I don’t fully agree with is related to Steemit’s «Trending» tab:

One limitation can be seen with the upvoting model in Steemit, which rewards top voted stories with steem tokens and which invariably results in posts about Steemit itself rising to the top of the trending ranks.

My point of view is that Steemit (as well as Facebook by the way) isn’t a «best content first» platform at all, unlike Medium for instance. Steemit’s «Trending» tab shows the balance of powers inside the community, as well as our Facebook feed shows the «balance of powers» in our friend list (which also includes Facebook itself). Don’t forget that one of Steemit’s core ideas had once been one of a Mutual Aid Society. With the coming of paid voting bots things have changed, but not towards displaying best content anyway. But that’s another story.

I deeply recommend to read the article to discover many important questions with no evident answers that need our thinking.

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