the decentralization roadmap


(click for larger view)

What you see on the picture is a roadmap I propose, which uses the know-how from several different areas, which I find important for the future of the social media decentralization(SMD). What I propose is common umbrella research project to be created so the cross points of these areas could be seen easier and a prototype of SMD monetization¹ framework to be created.

The main milestones the SMD will go through while building stable revenue model I think are:

I. Creating reliable decentralized platform, eliminating the privacy and security issues of the big centralized platforms, and making the platform customizable and extendable for new media formats.

There are many projects, approaching the problem. Just to name few of them: the well known Diaspora and GNU Social, ambitious new ones like Friendica, Media Goblin, Tent, and many others listed here.

What I think is needed is:

1. Full list of all projects, technically approaching the SMD.
2. SWOT analysis for all of them.
3. Building one common knowledge base, integrating their know-how.

So far, the SMD exist as a cause in the tech community. It is supported by the tech medias, volunteering, donations, sponsorship and crowdfunding campaigns. There is no community yet researching the potential revenue models, which could align with the SMD values and I think it’s very important such community to be created.

There are two areas, which I find should be researched in parallel in order a revenue model for SMD to be created successfully and they are: the e-commerce and the content monetization.

Over the last few years the P2P e-commerce explored massively the same values as the SMD – like trust, profit sharing, knowledge sharing, openness, transparency and this turned the P2P marketplaces quickly to a billion dollar business. By the same time the SMD platforms were creating their first prototypes, the P2P marketplaces started sprouting and the people started feeling confident to share their rooms, parking places, cars, toys and even kitchens or hire people overseas online and all these systems operate via online rating systems, based on trust. What the people understood was that the sharing and transparency could result in digital ‘ratings’ which could be used for doing business online in many areas – from knowledge sharing to property sharing and selling goods/services. Imagine what would happen, if all the platforms like the famous Airbnb, TaskRabbit and Uber, and many others, in other niches, unite their ratings via one legitimate profile of the user, which she would host wherever she wants and use the ratings as apps in order to participate in new business models. I think the e-commerce cannot grow, if it doesn’t at certain moment embrace the idea for SMD.

The content monetization, on the other hand, also is very close to the SMD monetization. The influencers like Pat Flynn and Leo Babautta successfully focused their models on trust, full transparency and knowledge sharing and this brought them great revenue and ranked them among the top entrepreneurs in the world.

What do they do is:
– breaking the corrupted advertising model, where the advertiser is not endorsed personally by the publishers
– opening transparently all their knowledge they built
– sharing only things they personally use and trust.

Leo Babautta even un-copyrighted his content and that worked great for him, increasing his income!
So, many good practices could be taken from here.

On the platform side, the favorite content management platform of 60mln+ users, including many big influencers, is WordPress, and it is under GPLv2 license from the Free Software Foundation. WordPress allows the users to host their content everywhere they want in various media formats. The platform is extendable by plugins and it has thousands of volunteers and commercial organizations creating design templates, functional customizations and even whole commercial frameworks. It could be turned very easy to Shopify and Volusion for content creators, integrating social features and all best practices from the proven influencers, and that could result in massive adoption of the SMD.

So the next milestones will be:

II. Revenue models for a decentralized network, based on the content monetization best practices.

Here I think the main sub-milestones will be:

1. Research how the infrastructure costs could be optimized for content creators, using Free Software platforms.
2. Best practices community, analyzing the best practices of revenue generation via trust, transparency and knowledge-sharing.
3. Development community, implementing the best practices via plugins, frameworks, and whole platforms.

III. Revenue models for a decentralized network, based on the P2P business models and e-commerce best practices.

Here the main sub-milestones will be:

1. Common knowledge base, with the best practices so far, based on trust, transparency and knowledge sharing, implemented in the e-commerce and P2P marketplaces.
2. Platform integration of all best practices into SMD via plugins and frameworks.

And last, but not least:

IV. How to manage decentralized network via social browser, using advanced tools.
The social browser exists as a concept already several years and in different implementations. The most popular of them – Rockmelt and Flock were acquired and closed. Now Flock is announced to be coming back soon, with something awesome to show. The existing social browsers, like Beamrise, Orbitum and Diglo are trying to fill the gap providing the user with common panel where she could integrate all her feeds from the popular social networks or aggreagate information on different topics.

What I think about the social browser is that it will reach its full potential when it shakes hands with the SMD. The social browser will come as ‘wrapper’ to the social medias and we would be able to aggregate information and create campaigns in much better, more flexible and fully customizable way. The social browser would look like a tool which will have functionality for browsing profiles, instant messaging, observing and organizing groups of people, organizing and analyzing data. The social browser, similar to the decentralized social profile, would have core and extendable features, so it won’t be one-size-fits-all. The extendable features will be implemented via plugins, so you can imagine the social browser like Business Intelligence tool or like the IDEs for the developers.

The  milestones I propose here are:

1. SWOT analysis of all current social browsers.
2. Analysis on the Free Software CRM systems as option to be used as personal contact management systems via social browser
3. Analysis on the Business Itelligence tools, used for social media analysis and the potential such tools to be integrated via plugins in a social browser
4. The social search and its future. Analysis how the search engines and the content aggregation will work with the DSM.

I’ll be happy to hear feedback from you, so feel free to contact me or drop a comment here.

¹ monetization – to utilize (something of value) as a source of profit


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