Moving From Platforms to Protocols: The Future of Social Media?

Onuoha UI™
4 min readApr 30, 2023
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The transition from platforms to protocols means moving from a model where a few large corporations control the social media landscape to a more distributed model where users have greater control and freedom.

This transition could enable new social media experiences, reduce the influence of centralized platforms, and empower users to decide how their data is used and shared.

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The Bluesky project was announced by Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, in December 2019.

The project aims to create an open and decentralized standard for social media platforms. This would allow for greater platform interoperability and enable users to have more control over their data.

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The idea behind Bluesky is to have a team of researchers and engineers work on developing a protocol that could be adopted by various social media platforms. This Social networking technology is called AT Protocol.

By building a decentralized system, Bluesky aims to address some of the challenges associated with centralized platforms, such as censorship, privacy concerns, and content moderation.

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Platforms, in this context, are centralized social media services like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, which control user data, content moderation, and overall user experience.

These platforms operate as walled gardens; there is limited ability for different systems to share data and transfer it between each other.

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In contrast, protocols are rules that enable communication and data exchange between different systems.

By transitioning from platforms to protocols, we shift from a social media landscape dominated by a few centralized platforms to a more decentralized and interoperable model based on open standards.

This change aims to create a social media ecosystem prioritizing user control, transparency, and openness.

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The shift from centralized platforms to decentralized protocols could lead to new social media experiences, reduce the influence of centralized platforms, and empower users to decide how their data is used and shared.

For instance, users could switch between different services without losing their data, friends, or followers, much like how you can send an email from a Gmail account to a Yahoo account, thanks to standardized email protocols.

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A decentralized social media protocol could enable developers to create various applications with unique features and user interfaces built on the same underlying standard.

As a result, users can choose the app that best suits their needs while still being able to interact with friends using different apps.

This would foster competition and innovation on social media, giving users more options and control over their online experiences.

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The relationship between transitioning from platforms to protocols in social media and blockchain technology lies in the concept of decentralization.

Both approaches aim to distribute control, reduce reliance on central authorities, and promote transparency.

Blockchain technology could support the development of decentralized protocols in social media by providing a decentralized way to store and manage user data, creating tokens or cryptocurrencies that incentivize users and developers, enabling transparent content moderation, and facilitating the creation of decentralized digital identities.

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However, it is essential to note that not all decentralized systems require a blockchain.

The connection between the two concepts lies in their shared goal of distributing control, promoting transparency, and reducing reliance on central authorities.

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To summarize, the shift from platforms to protocols in social media is geared towards establishing a more open, transparent, and user-centric social media environment that places user control, transparency, and openness at the forefront.

It's worth noting that blockchain technology can facilitate this transition, but not all decentralized systems necessitate a blockchain.

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Onuoha UI™

Christian, Product Designer, F.E Developer, Canva Partner, Technical Writer