How Blockchain Could Improve Social Media Part 3

Interaction with content and network accessibility.

 

User interaction with content. Payments and incentives based on contribution

One of the properties of blockchain networks is that they are peer-to-peer networks, which means that there is no third party that would facilitate transactions. A blockchain network serves as such a party. On the Bitcoin blockchain, users can send money to one another at any time of day or night, from any location in the world to any other location in the world, without having to visit a bank website or have any institution be open for business.

For content consumers and creators on a blockchain network this would mean that interactions between consumers and creators would be happening directly, without any third parties trying to monetize them and profit from them. This would also allow blockchain-based social networks to compensate and reward content creators more fairly than existing social media platforms do.

 

Network accessibility

Currently many countries all over the world, such as Syria, North Korea, China, and others block certain social networks and websites because they do not want their citizens to access certain content, including music, news, and political opinions.

For example, as of September 2016, China has banned over 6 million websites, including Gmail, Google and many of Google’s services, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WikiLeaks, Tumblr, and many others.

While advanced users find ways to access these websites using Virtual Private Networks, the governments are cracking down on these networks on a regular basis.

Blockchain-based social networks are a way to combat the censorship because of their decentralized nature. On a blockchain network, there are typically several types of users. The first type is users who simply want to see what is happening on the network. To do that, you often don’t even have to download any software. You can simply go to a website (if the network has such a website) and see the activity on the network just by browsing the website in the same way you can see the activity on the Bitcoin network without downloading any Bitcoin software, just by visiting websites such as http://www.bitcoinblockhalf.com/ and https://blockchain.info/ For example, blockchain-based social network Steem has its own blockchain explorer located at https://steemblockexplorer.com/ While the way Steem creates its blocks is different from Bitcoin’s, you can still see a lot of information about blocks, times the network created the blocks, witnesses that approved the creation of the blocks, and so on.

Because Steem is a social network, users on the network vote on the content created by other users and this information also becomes a part of blockchain, so that anyone can not only see who created content, but also how the content was becoming popular on the network. Here is a link to one of the blocks of Steem blockchain where you can see all the activity that the blockchain records https://steemblockexplorer.com/block/22050737

The second type of users on blockchain networks consists of users that download the software of the network that allows them to participate in the activity on the network. With Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, it is possible to download wallet software and start participating in transactions on the network. With Steem, there are several ways to become a member of the network and one of these ways doesn’t require downloading any software. You can sign up on the website by providing your phone and email.

Finally, blockchain networks have users that are called nodes. A node is a user who has downloaded a full copy of the blockchain of the network. On open blockchain networks such as Bitcoin and Steem, anyone can become a node. For instance, you can see the number of nodes on the Bitcoin network and their location in the world by visiting https://bitnodes.earn.com/

For a social network, having nodes would mean that it would be almost impossible for any government to stop the network from operating in a country. A government can ban a website such as Facebook because Facebook is a company with offices and employees. Banning a network that has no offices and no employees and that exists on the computers of its users who voluntarily choose to run nodes on the network is much harder.