Decentralized Social Media Can Help Marketers: Here’s How You Use It in 2024

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Decentralized social media enables users to interact with each other directly instead of through central authorities, promoting privacy and autonomy. In addition, users rather than central authorities or corporations determine the rules, policies, and decisions governing decentralized social media platforms.

What Is Decentralized Social Media?

What Is Decentralized Social Media?
Decentralized social media platforms are online networks that don’t store user data and content on central servers controlled by a single entity. Instead, they operate on distributed networks or blockchains, giving users more control over their data and encouraging transparency.

These platforms are designed in a way that makes it difficult for any single entity or authority to censor or manipulate the information or conversations taking place on the platforms.

In the abundance of new tools for marketing, how can these platforms help marketers elevate their strategies and boost performance results?

In this article, we explore the best decentralized social media platforms and the pros and cons of using them for marketing.

Key Takeaways

  • Decentralized social media platforms operate on distributed networks or blockchains, giving users more control over their data and encouraging transparency.
  • Decentralized social media offers marketers several advantages over traditional centralized platforms.
  • By eliminating intermediaries, decentralized social media can reduce advertising costs and enable direct engagement between brands and their audiences.
  • The shift from an ad-driven model to a creator-driven model enables marketers to engage with their audiences in more authentic and meaningful ways.
  • Despite the advanced technology behind such platforms, widespread adoption is still in its early stages.

How Decentralized Social Media Can Impact Marketers

Decentralized social media offers marketers several advantages over traditional centralized platforms.

For one thing, it provides enhanced data privacy and security, reassuring users who are concerned about the use of their personal information.

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In addition, decentralized social media platforms often have transparent algorithms, allowing marketers to understand how content is promoted and engage with users more effectively.

By eliminating intermediaries, decentralized social media can reduce advertising costs and enable direct engagement between brands and their audiences.

Decentralized platforms can also foster more genuine, community-driven interactions, offering marketers opportunities to build authentic connections and loyalty with their target audiences.

Jordan Lintz, chief marketing officer of HighKey Agency and its subsidiary, HighKey Clout Inc., told Techopedia: 

“One key advantage of decentralized social media platforms is the ownership users have over their online identities. [Decentralized social media] blockchain provides a level of sovereignty similar to what Bitcoin offers for money.”

Unlike traditional social media platforms, where user data is controlled by centralized authorities, decentralized social empowers users to own and control their data securely on the blockchain, according to Lintz.

“This ownership provides marketers with a direct channel to their audiences, allowing for more targeted and effective marketing campaigns,” he adds. “Furthermore, decentralized social media platforms operate on a creator-centric model, prioritizing content creators and their audiences over advertisers.”

This shift from an ad-driven model to a creator-driven model enables marketers to engage with their audiences in more authentic and meaningful ways, Lintz says.

“By providing users with more control over their data and offering fair compensation for their content, decentralized social media platforms create a more transparent and trustworthy environment for marketers to connect with their audiences,” he says.

Top 5 Decentralized Social Media Networks

The following are five of the top decentralized social media networks marketers can use for their campaigns.

Steemit

A blockchain-based social media platform, Steemit combines social networking, content creation, and cryptocurrency rewards.

Steemit, which operates on the Steem blockchain, enables users to earn cryptocurrency rewards, called Steem, for creating and curating content. Users can post images, videos, and articles on Steemit, and other users can upvote and comment on the content.

Steemit rewards curators and content creators with Steem tokens based on the quality of their contributions and how popular those contributions are. Users can earn Steem by posting content, upvoting others’ content, and engaging with the platform.

Steemit blockchain-based social media platform. Source: Steemit
Steemit blockchain-based social media platform. Source: Steemit

Mastodon

Mastodon is a free, open-source social networking platform that allows users to host their own servers, called “instances,” while also being able to connect and communicate with users on other instances. It’s similar to X.com in that it allows for short posts.

The Mastodon social media platform offers features similar to those provided by traditional social media platforms, such as timelines, profiles, and the ability to follow and interact with other users.

Overall, Mastodon provides a decentralized social networking platform that prioritizes user control, privacy, and community engagement.

Its federated model allows for the creation of diverse communities, and it encourages a sense of ownership and autonomy among its users.

Mastodon open-source social networking platform.
Mastodon open-source social networking platform. Source: Mastodon

Diaspora

Diaspora is an open-source, decentralized social media platform that focuses on user privacy and control. Diaspora offers an alternative to centralized social networks by allowing users to host their own personal servers, called “pods,” or join existing pods operated by others.

Diaspora emphasizes privacy features, such as strong encryption, data ownership, and the ability to choose who sees a user’s posts and personal information. It also supports such features as sharing posts, following other users, and joining communities called “aspects.”

Because of its commitment to privacy and decentralization, Diaspora is popular among users who value data sovereignty and want to connect with others in a more secure and private online environment.

Diaspora open-source, decentralized social media platform. Source: Diaspora
Diaspora open-source, decentralized social media platform. Source: Diaspora

LBRY

LBRY (pronounced library) is not primarily a social media network but rather a decentralized content-sharing and publishing platform.

LBRY lets users publish, discover, and access a large variety of digital content, including music, videos, eBooks, and more.

While LBRY is not a traditional social media network, it does have social features that enable users to interact with content creators and engage in discussions. Users can follow channels, comment on content, and tip creators with LBRY’s native cryptocurrency called LBC (LBRY Credits).

LBRY’s social features provide a platform for users to engage with creators and fellow users, fostering a sense of community around the shared content.

LBRY decentralized content-sharing and publishing platform.
LBRY decentralized content-sharing and publishing platform. Source: LBRY

Hive

Hive is a decentralized social media platform that emerged as a fork of the Steem blockchain. It was created by a community of developers and users who sought to address concerns related to centralization and governance on the Steem platform.

Hive operates on a similar principle to Steem, where users can create and curate content and earn cryptocurrency rewards. However, Hive aims to provide a more decentralized and community-driven experience by implementing a new governance model and distributing power among its users.

The platform lets users post and engage with various types of content, including articles, images, and videos.

Hive’s decentralized nature and community-driven approach have attracted a diverse range of content creators and users who value transparency, decentralization, and the ability to have a say in the platform’s development and governance.

Hive is a decentralized social media platform
Hive is a decentralized social media platform
Source: Hive

Decentralized Social Media Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Users control their online identity, content, and data securely on the blockchain.
  • Prioritizes content creators over advertisers, enabling direct monetization.
  • Emphasizes data security and privacy through blockchain technology.

Cons

  • A limited number of users compared to traditional social media.
  • Widespread adoption is still in the early stages.
  • Decentralized platforms have not yet reached traditional social media’s user base.

Pros

Decentralized social media platforms offer users full control over their online identity, allowing them to own and manage their social profiles, followers, content, and data securely on the blockchain, says Lintz.

This ownership gives users more privacy, security, and transparency than traditional social media platforms.

“Also, decentralized social operates on a creator-centric model, prioritizing content creators over advertisers,” he says. “By removing intermediaries and allowing creators to monetize their content directly, these platforms offer users new revenue streams and greater economic empowerment, fostering a more equitable and transparent digital ecosystem.”

In addition to providing users with ownership of their online identities and offering a creator-centric model, decentralized social media platforms prioritize data security and privacy, according to Lintz.

“By leveraging blockchain technology’s distributed ledger system, these platforms ensure that user data is encrypted, tamper-proof, and decentralized, minimizing the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access,” he notes.

Cons

On the other hand, while decentralized social networks offer numerous benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider, Lintz says.

“The main challenge is the limited usership compared to traditional social media networks,” he says. “Although the technology behind decentralized social is advanced, widespread adoption is still in its early stages.”

As a result, the user base of decentralized platforms has not yet reached the level of traditional social media networks, according to Lintz. However, as the technology continues to evolve and gain popularity, this limitation is expected to diminish over time.

The Bottom Line

By shifting power from centralized social media platforms to decentralized social networks, marketers can benefit from increased transparency, data ownership, and user engagement.

In addition, decentralized social media enables marketers to target specific audiences more effectively, build authentic relationships, and create personalized experiences.

With the ability to bypass intermediaries and directly connect with consumers, marketers can leverage decentralized social media to drive brand awareness, loyalty, and, ultimately, business growth.

FAQs

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Linda Rosencrance
Technology journalist
Linda Rosencrance
Technology journalist

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer and editor based in the Boston area, with expertise ranging from AI and machine learning to cybersecurity and DevOps. She has been covering IT topics since 1999 as an investigative reporter working for several newspapers in the Boston metro area. Before joining Techopedia in 2022, her articles have appeared in TechTarget, MSDynamicsworld.com, TechBeacon, IoT World Today, Computerworld, CIO magazine, and many other publications. She also writes white papers, case studies, ebooks, and blog posts for many corporate clients, interviewing key players, including CIOs, CISOs, and other C-suite execs.