Human relationships have been owned
As a teen, I had my first social media account opened when I was like 14. Almost all my classmates had it opened before that age. My generation just takes it for granted.
But when you think about traditional human communication, it’s peer to peer and ephemeral. We talk to the person or group we want to talk to, they reply, and that’s it.
Then the Internet came along, and people started communicating with each other using aliases. Back then people used services like mailing lists and IRC, which were federated.
But with the Internet going mainstream, social media started appearing. People started using their real names. And these social media companies had to retain users and think about ways of monetizing them.
No more federated. Everything became centralized.
There are quite a few problems with centralized social networks:
Saying you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say. — Edward Snowden
Don’t be owned, own your data
I feel positive about the decentralized alternatives to social networking that are appearing now. The one I like the most is Akasha. It’s super early but I couldn’t be more excited of being an early tester.
It uses the Ethereum blockchain, and creates a social profile that you fully own.
Since it is a set of contracts in a decentralized ledger, there’s no dictator deciding how you should use it. It is not a walled garden. It is censorship-resistant. And your identity is just a key pair, so it is easy to add end to end cryptography to all the social interactions.
This is not a matter of which product has the best features, or which product has the largest user network. It is a matter of principles.
It is just an answer to a simple question.
Do you want to live in a world in which a central party owns every single human relationship?