Monday, June 26, 2023

Mastodon Learnings & Blockchain Applications

Blockchain applications could learn a thing or two from Mastodon.

In a recent article titled Why did the #TwitterMigration fail? (6/12/23), the author delves into the key reasons behind the unsuccessful migration to the decentralized social media platform.

While the entire piece is worth reading, one excerpt particularly stands out.

It sheds light on one fundamental challenge faced by Mastodon and is relevant to blockchain applications:

Decentralisation is not a selling point for 99% of people

Mastodon is at risk of falling into the trap that a lot of free/open source software does, where the idea of the software being “free as in speech” is expected to outweigh or explain away deficiencies in its usefulness. However, this ignores three salient facts:

  • Most people don’t give a thruppenny fuck about their freedom to view and edit the source code of the software they use, which they would not know how to do even if they cared;
  • Most people are not ideologically opposed to the notion of proprietary software, and cannot be convinced to be because it is simply not important to them and cannot be explained in terms that are important to them; and
  • When given the choice between a tool which is immediately useful for achieving some sort of goal but conflicts with some kind of ideological standpoint, and a tool which is not as useful but they agree with ideologically, they will probably choose the former.

...most people don’t give a shit about freedom, they just want their computer to work and perform X task for them in a way they find acceptable. Proprietary software largely delivers that to them. 

This applies most directly to blockchain applications that parrot web2 products, such as the litany of  Twitter imitators.

Decentralization simply can't be the a primary value prop in order for any application to cross the chasm because most people don't care and I don't see that fact changing anytime soon.