Social media sites are used by a majority of the American population. Currently 73% of the public use one or more of the top ten sites frequently. That is nearly everyone, and may go up to 90% in just a few short years. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Snapchat, there’s a myriad of sites that are being used daily for a variety of different uses. Social media has become so integral to society that it’s pervasive in everything people do. It’s sometimes used as a news source, though according to many users it’s not reputable. In the recent year, amid controversy of fake news and authenticity, people are becoming more resentful and skeptical. So what does that mean for the future?
Blockchain technology is the force behind digital currency, Bitcoin. It is a record of transactions, whether monetary or data, that creates a block which is then linked together creating a chain. It is encrypted so that data can be distributed but not copied, and is publicly visible to everyone in the network. It is not stored on any one server and is easily verifiable. This means that any data in the blockchain must be fact checked and verified making certain fake information isn’t circulated.
Already there are several social media sites powered by blockchain. They are very different from current mainstream sites in that they all decentralized. This means they run on independently run servers instead of one massive server owned by a corporation. While these sites are still growing, the ideas behind them use cutting edge technology that is rapidly gaining traction.
With so many people tired of information scandals, blockchain’s transparencies of all transactions make it useful. Not only that, but the technology is creating platforms where users can gain actual money from creating content. Instead of posting and getting a handful of likes, and momentary gratification, those likes could be turned into actual money instead. Many of these new social media sites have their own currencies, ‘cryptocurrencies,’ which users can then gain through creating content. When it comes to advertising, this means it would erase the middle man. It will bring businesses straight to the consumer, which has been the goal all along.
Facebook Privacy Issues
In 2012, a Cambridge researcher gained access to 50 million Facebook users data and shared it with Cambridge Analytica, which then reportedly shared it with others. This, of course, caused users to lose trust in the site and there has been a recent decline in engagement. However, according to other reports, engagement had been in a decline before the scandal even broke, particularly among the younger generation. Part of this had to do with the lack of trust due to fake news prevalent on the site.
This doesn’t really mean much in the long run. Facebook still has a massive user base due to it’s convenience. During a Twitter campaign, #deletefacebook, there appeared to be no change in the amount of new app downloads.
That doesn’t mean that Facebook doesn’t have anything to worry about when it comes to blockchain. The emerging tech is easier to use and can be far more varied than all of the social media networking sites right now. Social media isn’t going to disappear. It is simply going to take on a new form. Blockchain will revolutionize these sites to become something different, with new ways of sharing data and engaging with content. From the newly emerging blockchain social networking sites, there’s little to worry about when it comes to social media disappearing. However the changes will be drastic and marketers will need to be ahead of them before they happen or risk falling behind.