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Paid social may be the hero we need in the age of misinformation

Finding signal in a world full of noise using paid social

Social media is awesome, you can create, share and consume content online completely for free. If you’re lucky you might even be able to grow an audience and start monetising your content through ads.

But what if I told you social media’s algorithmic ad model is where we may have went wrong.

If you’re as old as me (23) you may remember the days of social media when posts were sorted chronologically on your Instagram feeds.

Discoverability may have been low, but you were actually able to see posts from the people you followed. Whereas today most of the content you see online comes from complete strangers and while some of this content may be useful, most of the time it’s complete garbage.

Prior to the invention of algorithmic feeds you could check your socials a few times a day and be caught up to date with everything happening with the people you followed.

Whereas today the endless cesspit of content served from the algorithm has created a generation of doomscrollers who are unable to tell when enough is enough.

While I do acknowledge the powerful organic reach these algorithms have provided to both creators and consumers.

I’d like to introduce you to a concept a lot of people are not going to want to hear.

Paid Social Media

As much as I believe in accessibility to information, I’ve recently been thinking about barriers to entry actually being a feature not a bug.

When you first learn to drive a car you’re not expected to know how to drive from day one.

You need to first complete a set of tests before getting free rein. So why should social media be any different, when they both have the ability to cause huge amounts of harm?

Since social media is still a relatively new form of communication in the span of human history. It means up until now theres been little to no regulation around what should and shouldn’t be acceptable online.

Platforms like TikTok, Instagram and X have made it as easy as clicking a few buttons and entering your email to get started spreading hate or misinformation online.

Warpcast

Now try to imagine a world where users had to pay a small fee to register before they can start posting. This is the reality for a platform called Warpcast - a hybrid between X and Reddit built on the blockchain.

From the outside the platform looks very similar to X. However, users can post their casts in subreddit like channels to find specific communities and like minded users to share their content with.

Some channels on Warpcast often make users pay a small fee in order to post in popular channels. Which has been done to encourage thoughtful and relevant contributions.

Posts are split into two sections, trending and recent. There’s no random content you didn’t sign up for on your feed and it’s straight to the signal.

Posts are also automatically deleted after one year unless you pay Warpcast a small hosting fee for your data. This keeps the servers less bloated and keeps business expenses low to ensure the platform can keep operating.

I assume most users would hate to have to pay to keep their tweets backed up. But I believe this is also a feature and not a bug. I’m glad that Warpcast is somewhat ephemeral in nature and users have the ability to cast freely in the moment and have those thoughts and ideas evaporate over time.

If something is worth preserving, people will preserve it. But we don’t need to hoard millions of gigabytes of wasteful content.

A similar system also exists on Reddit where users earn in app points called karma for valuable insights or contributions on the platform. Similarly to Warpcast, Reddit users are also often required to earn a minimum amount of karma before they can post in specific subreddit channels.

This approach radically reduces bad actors from sharing low effort posts or harmful content. By forcing users to pay a small fee on Warpcast to join the platform and other fees to post in specific channels. The app has been able to curate a social media experience with little to no noise.

The majority of takes and posts on Warpcast are thoughtful and engagement is much more meaningful between users.

I do also see the irony advocating for moderation as an avid advocate for free speech. However, I strongly believe both paid and free platforms should exist for users to make their own decision on where they’d like to spend the majority of their time online.

While the ad based model has generated billions of dollars worth of value to the companies selling advertising space on our screens, I think the average consumer may be getting fed up of being treated like a product.

Everything feels like an ad and you can no longer escape the doom scroll and while paid platforms like Warpcast are in no way perfect, I do think they encourage healthier social media habits.

I think free platforms will always exist but they might end up being overrun by street pedlars pushing useless products and information every corner you look. While the paid option may offer a more refined social media experience

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