Minds.com Redefines Social Capital
Those mentioned above are all versions of “social capital,” or, “the expected collective or economic benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups.” (Source.) On these networks, it doesn’t always amount to much usefulness. Highly trafficked Facebook users and YouTube video bloggers can potentially monetize their efforts, and a viral tweet can be life-changing.
Never before could 140 characters find their way to the uppermost levels of society. Our current situation of worldwide empowerment and expressive egalitarianism can only exist because of the technology underlying it, much of which is closed-source, privately owned, and possibly fleeting. This is to say there is a serious flaw in our current social architecture, so much so that it has become cliché to say “if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product,” which means that control over privacy is the first sacrifice a user of any of these networks makes.
At the same time, thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people have found their fortunes using these networks. Messages that might never have left the pages of a journal in a previous era now reach millions. There has never been a better time to have a crackpot idea, as you now have the ability to find others in the world with the same crackpot idea and potentially turn it into a reality.
“Boost” Content With “Reach”
There is no quantifiable way to achieve the influence and “benefits” that are possible through social media. Minds.com seeks to change that with a platform radically different from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or other comparable networks. It is open-source and encrypted, but these are not the core difference from the others. The core difference is that Minds.com has solved the “social capital disenfranchisement” problem. On Minds.com, for every like, share, subscriber, etc., you gain “reach,” which is essentially a visible unit of exchange. One can use this reach to promote your content or the content of others, an action called “boosting.”
Reach is stored in the user’s wallet and can be used at any time to push content further. This is in stark contrast to the way that Facebook’s complex and hidden algorithms have gradually imposed severe limits on how freely people can make use of their highway without first paying a toll. That is to say, it may now be legitimately impossible to become famous on Facebook without ever paying them to advertise. Organic virility has been stripped away from Facebook as the demand for profit-bearing activities such as advertising has increased.
Rather than a friends list, the user has subscribers, similar to other platforms, but different in that these subscribers actually matter to the user. It becomes more difficult to game a system that does not solely rely on the number at the top. A person with 1,000 subscriptions on Minds.com can potentially earn the same reach points as one with 10,000 in the same period, supposing the former person’s subscribers interact more with the content. If nothing else, Minds.com is an innovative idea, and its praises are ringing from the IRC chat rooms of Anonymous to the pages of Forbes Magazine.
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