In this article, I bring forward a definition for Web 3.0 and more, in particular, a definition for SocialNetwork 3.0. While the definitions for the 1.0 and 2.0 versions are more or less accepted by many, no commonly accepted definitions for the 3.0 versions seem to exist.
By no means I declare the definitions for the 3.0 versions to prevail over others. Nor I intend to drive these definitions to become the defacto standard.
I do intend to provoke discussions around the topic of reward-based social networks in general and discussions around the future of the HIVE based blogging services more particularly. The later is not limited to the HIVE native blogging services (Hive.blog, PeakD, Ecency and others) but also applies to all HIVE based tribes (LeoFinance, StemSocial, StemGeeks, SportsTalkSocial, ReggaeJahm, and many others).
While the English version of Wikipedia (source) is quite clear regarding the definition of Web 3.0 (semantic web), the Dutch version of Wikipedia (source) shows some of the different interpretations for Web 3.0: From a well-integrated web of applications and the ability to build the web with a different set of tools to the semantic web in which all text and media are connected and the concept of Web 3.0 bringing back the experts and authorities to the web (source: Andrew Keen).
It's this latter concept, I like the most. Maybe less tangible in terms of technology, but hugely important in case we like to successfully implement decentralised communities and societies and more specifically to the successful implementations of social networks.
Social Network 3.0
When we define Social Network 1.0 being profile-based (implemented by Facebook, Instagram and the likes) and Social Network 2.0 being content-based (implemented by YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok and the likes), the definition of Social Network 3.0 can be defined as MIT already articulated back in 2005: "The third generation of social-networking is about content as much as contacts." (source).
While many of the existing social networks are dominant in either 1.0 or 2.0 versions, most to all provide tools to the user to experience these social networks as if they belong to the category of social networks adopting the other version. Following the definition for the 3.0 version by MIT, one can easily conclude, most to all social network are already social networks 3.0 in one or the other way.
That's maybe true, but I believe we shall give a more detailed definition to social network 3.0. A definition that is more in-line with the semantic web. A definition that gives us tools to support the transformation of our social networking experiences towards one that'll support our wish for more freedom and the building of decentralised societies with the successes we need.
For us to be able to deal with freedom on a grand scale, we need to up our game in educating ourselves, to not believe whatever we get served, to become more critical, to provide proof to our own statements and opinions, as well as to open our minds to those who think differently. Social network 3.0 shall address this topic and enable its users to transform from the naive and somewhat ignorant individual, towards an individual who makes an effort to create an opinion and embraces all that is needed to find the real truths instead of turning other peoples beliefs, opinions and facts into their own beliefs without questioning.
The Challenges with Existing Social Media
As pointed out by Evgeny Morozov - in the video clip: a cut from a recording of a recent episode of Dutch in-depth research and the somewhat philosophical TV show "Tegenslag" (source) - many of the social networking companies we know drive content into our timelines that will benefit these companies the most. Revenues are largely based on advertisement. The larger the users value to the advertiser, the higher the value of the services and the company. Since the advertiser's value of a user is driven by the level of activity of the user, it's in the interest of these social networking companies to drive content into our timelines that is sticky, which seems to be easy to consume content as well as content that supports our beliefs.
The topic of the easy to consume content needs no further explanation. We all know how sticky that type of content is. How much we want to consume such content.
To the topic of the more serious content in our timelines: In 2020 we can see the effects of the algorithms implemented. 2020 is a year of great revelation, in that respect. It is the year in which we see social networks driving more extreme views into our societies. It is the year we count as many decision-makers as we have citizens.
Everybody seems to have an opinion regarding COVID19. Opinions largely formed based on the information we got served through our social networks (and mainstream and alternative media, but that is a topic for another article). Existing social media algorithms drive tribalism. In itself not an issue, as long as we are open for the opinions of other tribes. However, it is hard for an average user to stay openminded when over and over a specific 'truth' is 'preached' in our timelines. When we click the links supporting our government regulations, very quickly we see our timelines full of content supporting the truth of our governments. Similarly, when we click a few links bringing forward another truth, we quickly find ourselves bombarded with content supporting that truth.
What could HIVE blogging be?
Can and shall we try to change the existing social media in a way this will empower as many individuals as possible in our societies to become more aware, to become more critical towards information, to become truth seekers? I believe the answer is a no brainer; Something we definitely shall fight for. However, it is questionable if we will succeed as long as the revenue models of the social media companies are based on advertisement.
With HIVE we have a BIG advantage over traditional social media. We don't have to rely on advertisement. Content creators and readers/curators are rewards for their attention, unlike in all the traditional social media. The service development teams are (or can be) rewarded through our own Hive Proposal System. Voluntary or mandatory (in-build) beneficiary feature can be used to provide others in the chain a percentage of the content and curation rewards.
Maybe we shall never try and build business models based on advertisement since this drives dependency and dependency drives algorithms that may not benefit societies in a world of maximised freedom.
With HIVE we have the ability to drive a social media experience that'll entice the users to become more self-aware, to become thinkers, to become truth seekers, to become the sceptic we need to become to be able to get rid of central governments and institutions and implement decentralised societies. No advertisers to please. No central entities to empower. No laws other than those we create ourselves.
Why not show the world how social networking can free ourselves from all the BS in, and institutions, kings and queens of this world?
A screenshot from the Website of The Syllabus - a creation of Evgeny Morozov (source)
What if we get rid of all the top x post channels based on monetary rewards? What if we don't implement top x posts based on simple parameters such as a number of likes instead? What if we build algorithms like Evgeny Morozov done with his The Syllabus project/service (source and video), to push posts into our timelines that entice us to think (again) about any topic we may need to form an opinion on?
I believe this can be groundbreaking for HIVE blogging. I believe such an approach is something the world needs. Many may not be waiting for it, but what one doesn't know, one doesn't miss. Therefore we shall create the need.
If we can pull this off, the establishment of a social network experience that is not based on external and internal dependencies like advertisers and money as well as free from politics, but a social network experience that drives the increase of self-awareness, the increase of truth-finding (whatever the truth maybe), the increase of meaningful debates, we may become a social network to reckon with. A social network of the future. One that can set a president in how a free and all-inclusive digital presence of the future looks like.
all images by edje unless stated otherwise
About the Video: I was contemplating for quite some time whether I would upload a cut of the Dutch TV show "Tegenslag" (source, since it is not my content and I didn't request for permission by the content owners.
However, for (obvious) consumerability reasons of the content, I felt I needed to create this 3+ minute clip and upload it. Not many users will watch the source, which is a 45+ minute long program, partially in the Dutch language. If it was YT, I could mark the start of the clip, but since its a bespoke service where this content is streamed from, without the ability to mark the start time in the video, I was more or less forced to create this clip.
Note: The program is public domain made available through a Dutch service owned by the Dutch public TV organisation. They offer this content for free to consume, to anybody (no paywall implemented, no login required). Added to that, this public TV organisation is paid for by taxpayers money, ie the public.