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There are lots of decentralized alternatives. People just don't use them much yet.



To paraphrase an old joke : "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too empty". What you describe there is the classic problem of Network effects. The limitation is not on the tech side of things. People don't use the decentralized services because either favourite content isn't there. Producers don't post to the decentralized service because the consumers aren't there. Unfortunate reality :-( I really don't want so much power concentrated in the Facebooks and Googles of the world.


It's gonna bite us in the ass pretty soon, because the direct consequence of this effect is that the ability to launch a successful network depends on marketing - you need to achieve a critical mass of users pretty much instantly, since each new user won't stay for more than a day or two if their friends and content aren't there. That requirement forces potential new tech to have massive backing by a strong entity like a tech giant.

I wonder if we'll end up seeing state actors (or supranational entities like the EU) promoting state funded networks as a public alternative, as is sometimes the case in industries that tend to be monopolistic due to the cost of starting - transportation, telecommunications, etc.


> I wonder if we'll end up seeing state actors (or supranational entities like the EU) promoting state funded networks as a public alternative, as is sometimes the case in industries

You make a good point but I'd like to think of it this way: If the said service is made mandatory, then it has a chance of succeeding. Else, building that critical mass entails a lot of customer acquisition costs that a Govt may just not be in a state to justify. And therein lies the beauty and danger of network effects. Once a company has them, it is very very difficult to dislodge it. Look at Visa and Mastercard: V has been around since 1958 and MC from 1966. Both are valuable as they have network effects.


The effort involved in pushing videos to one or two more platforms when you already did to one is close to zero. This is how you start while not leaving YouTube yet and making it possible for the alternative to develop progressively.


In theory you could make a json file with all the details and push it to 100 content libraries like YouTube/Vevo/Peertube/Facebook/etc. but most of them want to be exclusive, they're not there to host your content, they want your viewers. There's no way they're going to do anything to help democratise that content.

We need to stop feeding the beast.

I'm still convinced that Opera Unite, which fused distributed social + web client + web server, should have been the way forward to make the web truly owned by the people: if social sites were simply caches of content available p2p or through any social site of my choosing (that the content owner allowed) ...




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