Social media is a compelling product category that has created a huge amount of value, driving mass adoption of the internet. However, as social media giants have consolidated the industry, various abuse cases and misaligned incentives have emerged. By offering a free product, social media must collect revenue via advertising and selling user data. Each social platform creates heavy-handed moats with high switching costs, trapping users into walled ecosystems. Influencers attempting to monetize on-platform must pay steep platform fees (Twitch takes 50%, OnlyFans takes 20%). Off-platform monetization adds friction and often entails another set of fees (Patreon takes 5%-12%, Paypal takes 3%). Indirect monetization from advertising and sponsorships dilutes the influencer’s content and weakens their brand. Users, whose mass presence gives platforms their value, have no stake and receive no compensation beyond the content itself. Platforms increasingly act like Skinner boxes, milking much engagement as possible and ignoring the psychological harm to users.
Web3 offers an opportunity to reinvent social media in the interests of users and creators rather than advertisers. Taki in particular is pioneering the engage-to-earn model, where user engagement and quality content are directly rewarded. Currently, this takes the form of direct value transfer on-platform, enabling users to earn rewards, send tips and buy user coins. Positive behavior can be directly incentivized rather than merely encouraged from social pressure. Influencers can earn directly on-platform, and their user coins offer tangible evidence of their value. Moreover, user coin trading creates a whole new vector of engagement, as traders can actively scout and support promising creators.
As Taki grows, all forms of social media value creation have potential for tokenization. Content curation, community management, and collectivization could be better incentive-aligned with token rewards. Furthermore, users will be able to take their Taki-based tokens off the platform and onto the blockchain, unlocking a whole world of composable possibilities.