Web3 Social Media: Own Your Digital Roots | Brad Freeman from Lens Protocol & ex TikTok
Gm Web3 Academy DOers!
Web3 Social Media may be the next big sector in Web3.
A sector which aims to take on some of the biggest companies in the traditional world!
Companies that currently hold hostage an unbelievable amount of our data, who then package it up and sell it, earning billions of dollars per year off us.
Companies that also control the fate of our digital social life and audience.
Web3 or Decentralized Social Media is our ticket to freedom.
Bitcoin is how we separate money from the state and web3 social media is how we separate our personal and social data from big tech.
But what is “Decentralized Social Media” and can it really work?
We figured there was no one better to learn from than Bradley Freeman, ex TikTok Biz Dev and current Head of Growth at Lens Protocol - the newest Web3 Social platform launched by DeFI blue-chip AAVE.
Bradley knows a thing or two about Social Media and Web3, afterall he was “the guy” that led TikTok’s move into launching NFTs!
Story: A little over a year ago, Brad converted the TikTok that was stuck in everybody's heads: Curtis Roach's "Bored in the house", into an NFT. The artist sold the TikTok for 28 ETH (over $100k at the time).
Without further ado, let's dive into it and discuss Lens Protocol!
P.S: Did you ever consider working in Web3? Maybe even for Lens Protocol? We've designed our Web3 Academy Collective to connect talent (you) with the best Web3 jobs and opportunities!
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You can also watch the episode below, or listen on your favorite platform: Spotify | Apple Podcast | YouTube
What is Lens Protocol
Aave? Lens? We were also confused so let's make it clear. There are three components:
Aave the company
Aave the DeFi Protocol that everybody heard of.
Lens Protocol - a project built by Aave the company.
Now that's clear, what the hell is Lens Protocol?
Lens is an open social graph protocol that aims to enable social media users to own their profile, content and followers.
As the saying goes 'not your keys, not your crypto', the same concept applies to social media content. Everything you publish on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook belongs to those centralized companies and you simply do not own your content.
How is Lens aiming to solve that?
P.S: Keep in mind that this project launched 2 weeks ago so a lot of things discussed here might change constantly!
Imagine if your Instagram :
Were all NFTs that were interoperable with all the other social media platforms.
That would mean that you have the ability to take your posts from Instagram to Twitter along with your followers seamlessly and automatically, without anyone stopping you to do so.
Lens is trying to change the current structure where you have to go ahead and connect to applications. They want the applications to connect to you!
Converting all of the components from a social media platform into NFTs allows the content creators to own their content and their data. It also allows users to follow a certain artist across multiple different platforms, without needing to create accounts for each.
The way this would be achieved is through your Lens Protocol username (ex. kylereidhead.lens). All of a sudden, this username is allowing log-in access to all of the platforms built on Lens Protocol.
Furthermore, it allows for seamless transfers of content from one platform to another.
The only catch is that this will work only among the apps built on top of Lens Protocol. For now at least.
To be clear, Lens Protocol is not a social media app like Facebook or Twitter, it is the underlying protocol that social media apps (like Facebook or Twitter… maybe?) will build on top of to allow for digital ownership and interoperability
Announcement: Right now, Lens Protocol is in a Beta stage, meaning that only whitelists have access to the service! We've secured whitelist spots for everyone that joins our Monday Web3 Community Podcast Discussion on Discord! We're going to walk you through how to use Lens and will discuss it together!
What Lens aims to enable
There are 4 components that Lens Protocol is striving to enable:
Lens is trying to make it seamless for everyone to transfer their assets (social media posts) between all different platforms that are built on top of Lens. In order to achieve seamless portability, a platform needs to be built on the Lens Protocol. Therefore, it is very likely that Lens will have to build its own social media platform because the existing ones will probably not want to come and build on Lens.
Composability refers to how each part of a social media is unique. Every post and profile is an NFT that someone owns. It is to be noted that these NFTs are solely a tool of creating a more user friendly social media, not an art/collectible NFT. What Lens ultimately wants to achieve is so that each little component of a social media is owned by the user and can be taken from and to other platforms without any traction.
The blockchain enables credibility because of its transparent nature. If every piece of information inside a social media platform is attached to the blockchain, then this enables transparency, which in turn enables credibility because it is visible to everyone.
The last and fourth component is perhaps the most interesting one. Imagine if a social media page could track its subscribers/followers in a transparent manner. Because each profile is an NFT and each follow/like triggers an action stored on the blockchain, then it would be possible to establish your 1st subscriber, your first 1000 subscribers or your 1.000.000th sub, something that is impossible to determine now.
This protocol would also enable the tracking of engagement brought by a follower (by retweeting or sharing your posts). This way, you could attribute that contribution to each of your followers and, in the long-term establish who is your "biggest fan" or who brought you the most engagement.
Needless to say that there are a lot of interesting opportunities by implementing NFT technology in social media.
What is next for Lens Protocol and Web3 Social Media?
Your guess is as good as ours!
Right now, Lens doesn't even have a plan of monetization! Being backed by Aave allows the team to solely focus on growing the protocol and according to Brad, Lens is the highest priority right now.
At the moment, Lens Protocol is built on Polygon and the gas fees are minimal.This allows Lens to cover all of the gas fees but it'll be interesting to see how they solve this once they scale to millions of users.
Brad predicts that the protocol will go fully decentralized in the near future so that they enable full transparency and censorship resistance, something they heavily preach.
Ultimately, Lens is trying to disrupt the services and companies that they themselves use today like Twitter and Instagram. It'll be extremely difficult to achieve that but we thoroughly believe that someone has to try and Brad, along with the rest of the Lens Protocol team are probably the most fitting people to attempt this. The worst that can happen is to force the current platforms to disrupt themselves!
P.S: On Monday, we're going to host our weekly Web3 Community Podcast Discussion on Discord regarding Lens Protocol. We're showcasing how Lens Protocol works and we're going to discuss where this project is going next!
BTW, we have secured a whitelist spot for everybody that joins!
Tune in on Monday, 13th June @ 7.00pm ET. Inside the Web3 Academy Discord.
Attend our Web3 Community Podcast Discussion
Every Monday, we host a group discussion focused on the podcast from the past week. It's open to all Web3 Academy Discord Members. This week, the discussion is of course going to be on Lens Protocol.
If you're not yet a member, apply below to become one and join the other entrepreneurs, creators and marketers in the discussion.
See you there! (We're giving away Lens whitelist spots to everyone that tunes in)
Monday, June 13th @ 7.00 pm ET inside the Discord!
Apply to Join the Web3 Academy Community
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Joining the Web3 Academy Discord is FREE but you need to apply first. This way, we make sure that only DOers are present in our community.
...shoutout to the Web3 DOers already inside, we see you!