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Decentralized and Centralized Social Media

What is the difference between decentralized and centralized social media? Lately, decentralized social media is becoming more popular, and people are starting to accept it. Why? What are the reasons?

Honestly, I think it’s because of the rewards you get when you use it.

Decentralized and Centralized Social Media
Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash

Note: Not all decentralized social media platforms provide rewards for posts. While some decentralized social media platforms have integrated reward mechanisms as part of their design, others may not have a built-in reward system.

Disclaimer: All of the things written here are based on results and my own analysis and experience. This post is meant to explain to regular people what decentralized and centralized mean in the easiest way possible. If you think there is something wrong with my information, kindly correct it in the comment section.

Next, decentralized social networks have no central authority like Facebook, Twitter, Quora, and others, which have many limitations on users and can delete your account anytime they want. Many users like this kind of idea, not being afraid that their content will be lost incase there is a violation on policies.

Even though they claim that there is no single authority that can prevent you from posting what you want or disable your account because there is no central authority to enforce it and that you can post anything you want and your account and post will still be on the internet tomorrow.

This doesn’t mean that you can just spam posts on decentralized social media, and the post will still be visible on the platform where you posted it. If the platform decides to prevent it from appearing on their site, the developer can prevent it from appearing on their platform. But this doesn’t mean that your post will not be on the internet anymore.

For example, let’s say you’re a spammer, and PeakD decided to block your post; then it will no longer appear on the PeakD platform. But since PeakD’s content and interactions are stored in the Hive Blockchain, which ensures decentralization and immutability of the data, your post can still be seen on Ecency.com, Hiveblog, and other platforms that store data on the Hive Blockchain.

So how come platforms can prevent you from displaying your post on their platform if it is decentralized?

It’s because although the Hive Blockchain where they store data is decentralized, these platforms are managed by centralized teams.

Now, even if all of the active platforms block you, your account and post will still be on the internet.

What you can do is you can get an open-source social media platform on GitHub and use Hive to make your posts visible again.

On the other hand, in centralized social networks, you always need to abide by their rules on what you can post and say. They can delete or deactivate your account if they find you violating their policies. Other users can also report you to the central authority if they don’t like your content.

What are the pros and cons of decentralized and centralized social media for average users?

There are many pros and cons for both types of social networks, but I’ll just list the ones that are important to average users.

Decentralized Social Media:



Pros:

Data Ownership: Your account is yours and cannot be deleted by anyone.
Censorship Resistance: More resistant to censorship. You can post NSFW (not suitable for work) content here, and you will not be flagged. Children and minors can also see it.
Rewards: Some decentralized social networks give rewards for valuable content.

Cons:

Identity Verification: Anyone can create an account because there is no KYC (know your customer), even a minor can create an account.
Complexity and Learning Curve: It is hard to learn how to use some of these platforms.
Limited User Base: There are not so many users onboard, meaning impressions and reach are limited.
Bullying: Since there is no central authority to mitigate it, bullying and power-tripping cannot be reported.

Centralized Social Media:

Decentralized and Centralized Social Media
Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash



Pros:

User-Friendly Experience: Easier to use, no complex user interface.
Large User Base and Network Effects: More users using it means more impressions and reach for your content.
Content Moderation: Inappropriate content cannot be posted because there is censorship.
Integration with Existing Systems: Can integrate with other services, applications, and APIs, enabling seamless experiences and interoperability.
Cons:

Lack of Data Ownership: If the platform wants to remove your account, all of your data will be lost forever.
Censorship and Content Control: The platform has the authority to censor your posts.
Monetization Models: Monetization on centralized social networks is harder because you need to reach a milestone before you can monetize your content.
These pros and cons provide a general overview, and the specific advantages and disadvantages can vary depending on individual platforms and user perspectives.

My Conclusion on Decentralized and Centralized Social Media – Tech Check

I have tried a lot of decentralized social networks, and so far my favorite is PeakD because it is user-friendly. While trying many platforms and researching at the same time, I have found out that there is no such thing as 100% decentralized. You can still be prevented from saying what you want; communities can still mute you, and some users can use their power to downvote your content, making your ratings drop.

Regarding the principles of decentralized social networks, although the idea seems nice, there are still a lot of concerns like account creation and censorship. If users can simply create accounts, many fake accounts can be used for bad purposes. Censorship is also important because we can’t allow everything to be posted online, especially when many minors are using the internet nowadays, and posts from these sites also appear on Google Search.

The idea of a social network is to socialize with other users. If most accounts are fake users who don’t even post and interact, the essence of social media is being destroyed. Also, I have noticed that users on most decentralized social media platforms don’t engage; most of them will vote for you just for the sake of earning from curation, but that’s it. They don’t even bother to read your content.

For me, centralized social media is still better and safer. Being discovered on major social media platforms is way easier compared to decentralized platforms, even if you use hashtags. I also appreciate the fact that major social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram regularly delete duplicate and fake users, keeping the platform a genuine social networking site.

Also, topics on decentralized social media are mostly focused on cryptocurrency and games. Maybe that is also one of the reasons why ordinary folks don’t enjoy using it.

One more thing that I have noticed is that if you just post on your own blog and not within a community, the impression and reach are very small, unlike in regular social media where if you use a hashtag, your content will be suggested to people who are interested in those kinds of topics.

I hope that one day, someone can create a balanced decentralized social media platform where people can truly socialize and is not only there for the rewards.

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