The decentralization of social media networks will require social marketers to adapt.
Social media has long been under fire for creating echo chambers that keep users locked into their perspectives, spreading misinformation, and harming teens' mental health. The revolving door of trends, new platform features rolling out every week, and the inundation of advertisements are constant thorns in the craw of every social media user.
But what if there was a way to break out of these limitations and create a decentralized, user-controlled social media experience?
Enter the fediverse, a new ad tech word sandwich combining "federated" and "universe."
What is the meaning of fediverse?
The fediverse will be a large, decentralized social network that aims to re-connect and re-imagine what we know as social media.
Instead of having a different user account for each centralized network (i.e., Instagram or TikTok), the Fediverse will allow you to have one user account for many interconnected platforms and communities.
Mastodon, Bluesky, and Threads have already agreed to join and allow their users to communicate across platforms. Whether or not the fediverse actually comes into being depends upon other major platforms joining, too.
What is the purpose of the fediverse?
Decentralizing social media is all about ownership and control. When you use centralized social media platforms, you give up your data, content, and personal information to a corporation that commodifies it.
For advertisers, that's a goldmine.
But for users, it can lead to privacy breaches and data misuse. And it can be a barrier to sign-up and engagement. It's the reason Jack Dorsey started Bluesky.
Even Mark Zuckerberg understands that users want more control over their data, recently stating, “Not everyone wants to use one product...and I think making it so that they can use an alternative but can still interact with people on the network will make [the] product more valuable.”
How does the fediverse affect marketers?
It's not all bad news for social media advertisers and brand marketers. As more and more people turn to the Fediverse for a more user-controlled social media experience, advertisers will have to adapt and find new ways to reach their target audience.
This could mean creating sponsored content that is more relevant and less intrusive than traditional ads or collaborating with influencers through the fediverse.
For inspiration, look at Reddit or Quora to understand how to craft natural, branded responses to questions being asked by users. This can position your company as a source that adds and builds upon the discourse on the network rather than an impediment.
Perhaps if users are served ads on a platform they actually trust, they'll be more responsive.
Ultimately, the goal of the fediverse is to create a more open internet, one where users have control over their data and content, and communities can thrive without fear of censorship or algorithms that prioritize profit over user experience.
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