The plot of this summer’s blockbuster, Oppenheimer, revolves around the search for the splitting of the atom and the resulting chain reaction. Few forces are more powerful than the atomic bomb in irrevocably altering life on Earth, except one: the power of people. When you turn society upside down by taking control away from the 1 percent and giving it to the majority, unpredictable things happen.

Sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly, the will of the masses is a chaotic force that defies all attempts to tame it. Hollywood knows all too well what can happen when the silent majority finds its voice: The recent Writers Guild of America strike has made creatives more accustomed to putting pen to paper and using their voice into the megaphone , which has led to hostile confrontations on the picket line.

The makers are now also revolting against their overlords on social media. Web users—those responsible for creating the memes, talking points, jokes, and viral videos that fuel the billion-dollar valuation of Silicon Valley startups—are the currency that makes digital networks, well, what they are. work. Even if no money comes back to them, no matter how many views they collect or how many impressions they generate.

The great malaise of social media

Fear of social media is not new. It’s not just limited to monetization concerns either. The concern runs deeper, encompassing everything from opaque data resale practices to rampant censorship and deplatforming. This summer alone, Meta was fined $1.3 billion by the European Union for misuse of user data, followed by a rebellion by Reddit moderators over a perceived lack of control, and just last week, another fiasco involving Reddit Moderators were accused of insider trading after announcing the end of its community token program, not to mention a feeling of hopelessness towards X, the platform formerly called Twitter, due to new owner Elon Musk’s capricious decisions on the fly.

On the one hand, X has become more receptive to free speech since Musk came to power. On the other hand, the Blue Check verification system was a mess – and failed to get users comfortable with the platform’s rebrand and new name. When Musk plays the benevolent dictator, he seems happy to take feedback into account and promise to give top developers more revenue. The rest of the time he’s the bull in the china shop, bouncing from one mishap to the next.

Meanwhile, YouTube has tightened its censorship, angering the likes of Jordan Peterson, while Meta has enraged tribute bands who were banned from Facebook for “pretending to be someone famous.” If you think things are bad now, wait until you see what awaits you in the next season of the Web2 social media clown show.

A rebirth in Web3

While the Web2 social media giants are in a race to the bottom that is alienating users, others have tried to show them their own game. If you don’t like the rules they think, create your own. For such thinkers, this generally means settling into Web3, that vast space where censorship is the enemy and decentralized storage replaces centralized servers.

As its proponents have discovered, Web3 is not a cure for everything that is wrong with Web2. For one thing, it’s difficult for any emerging application to create network effects, let alone a person who wants to enjoy Facebook’s breakfast. There is also a learning curve for Web3 beyond that of mastering a new network, which is often too much for those new to technology.

However, those brave enough to make the jump to Web3 can forgive the occasional unreliability given what it offers in return: revenue for the revenue drivers, data for the data owners, and a platform for those platform-deprived have. In many ways this stuff isn’t revolutionary. It’s just sorely missing from social media as we currently know it.

Giving creators the power to control their own destiny on social media not only means they can monetize their skills – it also empowers them to become stakeholders who can shape the future of the network. It is clear that those who have a vested interest in the success of a platform are motivated to make decisions that serve the common good.

Founded on the principles of freedom, equality and fraternity, Web3 may sound like a communist’s dream, but in reality it is more of a consumer paradise. If you believe in getting paid for your work and retaining ownership of your intellectual property and identity, Web3’s core values ​​should resonate. It is based on rewarding users for their content and engagement in the creator economy. On the other hand, the lack of incentives to post low-quality content helps reduce spam. You can still post crap on Web3, but if no one listens, what’s the point?

These blockchain-based social networks help creators build their reputation and grow their fan base without fear that a risque joke or a sudden political change will send them to Siberia. Web3 won’t let you be an idiot and get away scot-free. Rather, it allows you to be human despite your flaws and not be blacklisted for it.

Choose your destiny

Ultimately, Web3 is about freedom of choice. It’s okay to choose advertising and be rewarded for watching via the time tokenization of the attention economy. It’s also okay to avoid the micro-rewards and forego them altogether. It’s okay to monetize your data or keep it locked up. And it’s okay to maintain a pseudonym while connecting with like-minded strangers you unknowingly pass on the street but would die for online.

It’s not perfect, it’s very ambitious and we don’t even know if it will prevail over existing solutions. But make no mistake: Web3 is the great social experiment of our time. And that’s what makes it so absolutely captivating.

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