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January 19, 2023

What a more open social network will mean for you

With Bluesky’s work to create a new approach to social networking, power will shift from social media providers to users themselves.

In the news

How many times have you thought, “I’d love to leave <insert social media platform here>, but I rely on it to stay in touch with old classmates, post jobs, see what my kid is up to at school.”

Soon, you may be able to have it both ways: Leave the platform but move your account (and data) to a platform of your own choosing. Just recently, Bluesky—an initiative originally funded by Twitter but now operating as an independent company—released more news about the protocol it’s building for an open, decentralized approach to social media.

This is the same standard promised by Jack Dorsey (Twitter founder and then-CEO) in 2019, when he tweeted about the formation of Bluesky and the goal for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard.

As this piece published by Nasdaq explains, Bluesky “would allow separate social media networks to interact with each other via an open standard, despite each network having its own curation and moderation systems.” The idea would be to “de-silo” social media platforms and transfer control to individual users over how and where their content is used.

The timing of Bluesky’s October announcement was exquisite, as the ever-controversial Elon Musk was simultaneously finalizing his purchase of Twitter and doing his usual impersonation of a bull in a china shop, causing many to cast a newly skeptical eye on Twitter specifically, and social media in general.

The Cognizant take

Some of the furor over changes at Twitter, and competing platforms, has died down. But the concept of a more open, less centralized social media environment where power is transferred to individuals is a positive one. Today’s murky social landscape, in which users cede enormous amounts of data to a few giants, often with little to no idea how it will be used and monetized, undermines both privacy and competition.

While it’s too early for businesses to make concrete plans for what comes next—there is simply too little certainty—leaders should prepare for a large-scale fragmentation of sources of consumer information. The era of simply mining a few social platforms for deep data on prospects may be drawing to a close; the future promises harder work.

Organizations that embrace and even encourage people to control their own personal information stand to generate enormous goodwill, as well as competitive advantage.

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