After a decade of a handful of dominant social media companies trading what are essentially publishing tools in exchange for serving us all an endless deluge of ads, the winds of change are finally blowing — in a few different directions at once.
Content creators (arguably either a special echelon of influencers or anyone who posts online) are slowly siphoning off some of the power that social media companies have wielded for years. Meanwhile, decentralization is sweeping worlds like finance and art, threatening existing orders and pointing toward a future defined by alternative currencies and digital collectibles. Those trends are bound to converge sooner rather than later, and in some corners of the social internet, it’s already beginning to show.
At TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 last week, Houseparty founder Ben Rubin, now working on a new company called Slashtalk, delved into some of those intersections. Rubin created Meerkat, the darling social app of SXSW 2015, which later evolved into a spontaneous video chat app known as Houseparty. Epic Games bought Houseparty in 2019, but Rubin’s prescience for emerging social trends didn’t stop there.
These days, everyone seems to be abuzz about decentralization. As with any nascent tech trend on the horizon, a lot of jargon gets thrown around. Within the DeFi (decentralized finance) and NFT (non-fungible token) communities, Web3 is the term du jour that captures the revolutionary potential that decentralized networks hold for the future of the internet.