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Breakpoint 2023: Social Media on Solana

An in-depth look at the evolving landscape of social media on the Solana blockchain from the perspectives of key industry players.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!

Summary

Breakpoint 2023, a conference dedicated to exploring the intersection of social media and blockchain technology, particularly focusing on the Solana ecosystem, showcased a range of industry experts discussing the future of social media. Panelists from pioneering companies such as Dialect, Vault Music, Standard Crypto, and SolarPlex shared their insights on the challenges and opportunities presented by integrating social platforms with blockchain technology. They addressed topics such as monetization, user acquisition, speculative tools, open social graphs, and the potential impact on user privacy and content ownership. These discussions provide a glimpse into how social media may evolve in the near future with the advent of blockchain technology and crypto-economics.

Key Points:

Social Media Monetization on Blockchain

The conversation highlighted the shift in social media monetization through blockchain technology. Chris Osborn of Dialect discussed the innovation of Web3 chat platforms that enable new functions like trading collectible chat stickers directly within messages. Nigel Eccles of Vault Music shared insights into a new digital format for music that allows artists to sell limited editions of their work directly to fans. Vicshit Gaur of SolarPlex underscored the opportunity for creators to establish better relationships with their audience and monetize content without relying on ads. This transition away from traditional monetization strategies like advertising towards direct commerce and creator incentives presents a fundamental shift in the creator economy.

User Acquisition and Retention Strategies

The panelists shared strategies for user acquisition and retention within the context of blockchain-based social platforms. The importance of offering a unique and engaging single-player experience, providing value in a niche market, and creating genuinely new experiences not based on existing models was emphasized. The importance of finding an "interest graph" rather than relying on social graphs was another key takeaway, as it may lead to stronger communities and better engagement.

The Role of Speculation

An in-depth discussion addressed the use of speculative tools for user acquisition. Adam Goldberg of Standard Crypto and other panelists argued that speculative mechanisms could temporarily boost user numbers, but they also carry the risk of undermining long-term engagement. A more sustainable approach would be to establish strong product-market fit before introducing speculative elements. Panelists also discussed the implications of bonding curves and other crypto economic tools that might be employed for content rather than tokens.

Open Social Graphs

Panelists debated the potentials and pitfalls of open social graphs in Web3. They pondered how businesses would evolve if the proprietary data moats of giants like Facebook and Google were replaced by open, readable data on the blockchain. Some panelists expressed skepticism about the immediate value of open social graphs to average users, while others saw potential for more targeted and direct connections between content creators and consumers.

Facts + Figures

  • Dialect, a Web3 chat platform, allowed users to mint millions of collectible chat stickers.
  • Vault Music leverages Metaplex NFTs to provide a unique digital music format that artists can sell directly to fans.
  • SolarPlex is creating a social marketplace for digital content that aims to eliminate dependence on ads.
  • Users commonly participate in speculative behavior, such as purchasing tokens or digital assets with the hope of value appreciation.
  • BitCloud and Friends With Benefits (FWB) used bonding curves for speculative growth but ultimately faced unsustainable user retention.
  • Bonding curves are being considered for application to content rather than just tokens.
  • Onboarding users to blockchain platforms remains a challenging and complex process.
  • Open social graphs may present an opportunity for direct interaction between brands and customers without intermediaries.

Top quotes

  • "The best reward you can give your users is a product they love to use and they love to continue using." – Chris Osborn
  • "Social graphs are actually irrelevant going forward because TikTok has proved that it's not who follows you or how many people you have who follow you, it's what you're interested in that actually rises to the top." – Vixit Gaur
  • "Anytime you have scarcity and there's some kind of clamoring to get that thing, pure speculation... can cause the authentic experience for the users not to be there." – Chris Osborn
  • "Our focus has been bringing people together around [interests] and we found that really interesting." – Vixit Gaur
  • "In Web3, there's an opportunity not to have Google and Facebook but actually protocols and projects can reach directly to users." – Nigel Eccles
  • "When there's people who come and just buy up things for this pure speculative purpose, the authentic experience for the users is not there." – Chris Osborn

Questions Answered

How is blockchain technology revolutionizing social media monetization?

Blockchain technology is revolutionizing social media monetization by enabling direct commerce and creating unique user experiences that allow for the ownership of digital assets, such as collectible stickers or music tracks, directly between creators and consumers without the need for traditional advertising models.

What strategies are effective for acquiring and retaining users on blockchain-based social platforms?

Effective strategies for acquiring and retaining users include offering compelling single-player experiences, targeting niche markets, creating unique engagement models, and tapping into users' interests to build strong communities, rather than relying solely on existing social graphs.

Can speculative tools benefit user growth on social media platforms?

While speculative tools can create an initial surge in user growth due to the potential for financial gain, they can also lead to short-lived engagement and may not contribute to long-term retention. A balanced approach of building a strong product first is recommended.

What is the potential impact of open social graphs on the social media business landscape?

Open social graphs potentially enable direct interaction between creators and users, challenging the proprietary data models of current social media giants. However, there is skepticism about its immediate value to users, suggesting a need for tangible applications that leverage openness for user benefit.

Are there barriers to onboarding users onto blockchain platforms?

Yes, onboarding users onto blockchain platforms is currently hindered by the technical complexity and the need for better user interfaces that abstract away the intricacies of crypto, making it easier for non-technical users to engage with these platforms.