For years, social media has been a stronghold for Big Tech.
The Facebooks, Twitters, and Instagrams of the world dominate our social interactions and reap vast sums for doing so. They harvest and sell our data, run targeted advertising, and show no compunction about invading our privacy in the name of profit. Just look at Facebook, which earns up to $900USD per year on just a single person's data alone.
Social media sites also rake in a considerable portion of the revenue derived from user-generated content. And while they tell us that we maintain intellectual property rights over what we post, the facts tell a different story.
The bottom line is this: we own nothing on centralized social media sites–not our identities, not our privacy, not the content we create and share.
That’s why Web3 builders have set out to create a different kind of social space – one where the platforms are owned and operated by communities, and users retain control over their data and content. It’s still early days, but decentralized protocols have already emerged that promise to reshape social media forever.
Let’s take a look at the current state of play, some stand-out projects, and what lies ahead in the space.
Web3 Social Media Today
Most of us know at some level that our personal data and content are being monetized by the Web2 social media platforms we use – often without our explicit permission. And while there are targeted moves in some jurisdictions to rein in centralized social media giants, Big Tech has successfully managed to slow attempts to curb its inroads into privacy.
But as invasive as these practices are, they have become so normalized that many of us have stopped questioning them.
What Web3 social media offers is a new normal: one in which we maintain ownership of our personal information, content, and identities.
This transformation in the ownership paradigm is essential for the future of privacy. Right now, social media companies are on the ascendant. Not only do they control our data, they actively profit from it in ways we cannot control. And even when the Facebooks of the world are not actively mining personal information for profit, they store it on centralized servers that have historically proven insecure.
By restoring power over data and content to users, Web3 social media won’t just improve privacy–it will breathe new life into the online creator economy. This is because Web3 projects allow creators to control how their content is monetized. In a decentralized world, users will no longer have to cede a chunk of the revenue generated from the video, audio, images, and text they post online to centralized platforms.
Web3 social media will also transform another important aspect of online life: the portability of identity.
Because the largest Web2 social media players are sworn rivals, they do not permit users to transport their identities across platforms they do not own. Who you are on Facebook bears no relationship to your Twitter persona, which is in turn entirely separate from your TikTok self, and so on. The impossibility of transporting reputation and content from one platform to another limits the ways in which creators can monetize their online presence.
Decentralized tech, in contrast, lets people retain their identities across dApps, which means they can build a reputation that resonates widely throughout the Web3 ecosystem.
Web3 Social Media in Action: The Lens Protocol
While a future where decentralized social media completely supplants centralized platforms lies some way off, Web3 developers are actively engaged in creating the tools that will make that future possible.
One of the most advanced Web3 social media solutions today is the Lens Protocol, which describes itself as a “user-owned, open social graph that any application can plug into.”
In an open letter headed “Own Your Digital Roots”, Lens lays out the revolutionary change Web3 makes possible.
“Web3 brings forth a renewed hope for what social media can be,” the letter reads. “It offers the ability for us to control how our content is used. We can have the power to own and monetize our content and community with no middlemen or centralized data harvesting.”
With Lens, social identities can be ported across the large and growing ecosystem of dApps that integrate with the protocol. These identities, along with content associated with them, are stored as NFTs in user wallets. And since Lens runs on the Polygon network (Tally Ho’s newest integration partner), you can use the world’s first community-owned wallet to store and share your identity tokens with security and ease.
Lens isn’t alone. Developers across the Web3 space are working on expanding the constellation of decentralized social media dApps. Some of the most popular include Phaver, a share-to-earn content platform, and Refract, a link board that highlights content curated by the Web3 community. Then there’s Sepana, which acts as a search engine that operates across the Lens’ dApp ecosystem, and Iris, a social platform that allows creators to post token-gated content.
Tally Ho in Web3 Social Media and Beyond
As the Web3 social media ecosystem continues to grow, Tally Ho will be there to support users and provide flexible and secure storage solutions. And with our recent integration with Polygon, our community can now use Tally Ho with all the social media platforms in the Lens ecosystem and beyond.
We firmly believe that, like Web3 social media platforms, all decentralized tools should be community-owned and operated. That’s true of Tally Ho – now and forever.
If you want to become more involved in shaping the future of the truly user-owned wallet, join the conversation on our Discord channel or apply to be a delegate. And if you’re a developer who works on Web3 projects, we'd love to hear from you.
Click here to learn more about Tally Ho. Download the latest version of the browser extension wallet here.