Social media networks and applications like Facebook and Twitter have become a primary means by which many people exchange information on a day-to-day basis. This exchange is made public more often than not; a musician might publicize, for example, that she’s performing at a local hotspot for her family and friends, who could then share the announcement with a broader circle of contacts in turn. The spread of information is exponential, which is precisely why these services can correctly claim to
“bring people closer together.” Even dating applications fall under this category. The most surprising fact about these social media networks upon reflection, however, is that the information that crosses their channels is produced in almost every case by the users themselves. The content that attracts a user to Facebook, in other words, is not created by a production team at Facebook headquarters, but by the users themselves that opt to publicize their information on this particular platform as opposed to any other.
The current practice, then, is that social media networks don’t create their own content but rely instead on their users to do so in the course of exchanging information. In many ways, this is an entirely fair relationship between network and user; the network creates a platform for users to exchange information, gaining data and ad revenue in the process, while users enjoy an efficient means of exchanging information. Still, users perform some amount of non-trivial work in the form of spreading information to wider circles of people, and this work is neither compensated nor incentivized. Experts at nCent Labs think that this vacuum can be filled to benefit everyone involved.
Suppose, for instance, that the musician who wants to publicize her upcoming show invites her immediate circle of friends and family to an event page on a social media network that offers a reward for spreading the word about the show. Electronic tokens that have some monetary value — in the form, for example, of free tickets or signed album covers — are awarded to those who proliferate useful links that attract paying fans to the show itself. What’s more, a first user who spreads the event page to a second user, who then goes on to spread the event page to yet another third user that buys a ticket can result in a hierarchy of rewards.
As is well known, this style of hierarchical incentivization has faced a number of obstacles to implementation. (See, for example, our previous post entitled The Success of Incentive-Centered Blockchain Markets). Thankfully, nCent Labs believes that the security and scalability of a blockchain market can avoid these dangers, effectively assigning appropriate compensation to different nodes in the network based on their actual economic value. The number of potential applications is astounding: employee referral programs, volunteering projects, online auctions, and even dating apps are a few that we have been working non-stop to bring to fruition. And although these applications are numerous, the underlying principle we follow is the same, namely, that those who participate in a network can be appropriately compensated for the economic value they add, to the benefit of the user and the network itself.