The new social platform Minds is hoping to establish its own space in the world of social networks by doing the opposite of what most successful social networks do.
The hook of Minds is twofold: The first is that the network is open source and encrypted. Because the platform is open source, it is designed so that anyone can add to it and improve it, and use it for both building and sharing things. Theoretically, someone could use the Minds social network to build their own social network. Minds also offers end-to-end encrypted messaging which will be opaque to both advertisers and governments. Theoretically, this means that not even the social network itself knows what is in the messages being sent.
Second, you can buy views for your posts with currency garnered from participation in the Minds social network. By viewing, voting, following, and doing the things you normally do on a social network, you will earn points that you can spend on the promotion of your own posts. This is similar to the way Facebook's algorithm works, except much more transparent, with users allowed to actually participate in the process.
What seems to be getting Minds a lot of attention at the moment is the fact that is has the support of the internet collective Anonymous. (The Independent's article on Minds even opens with a picture of a few Guy Fawkes-masked Anon members.) A large Anonymous-related website recently called for its 1 million+ members to support the fledgling social network, as its policies align with the goals of the internet collective.
The question I have about Minds is a straightforward one: How could this thing possibly survive as a business? Large social networks make money through targeted ads, and the ability to sell the demographic information of its users. This isn't the only revenue stream social networks have, but is often the most lucrative one. If Minds gains any kind of traction in the social networking industry, it will have to find alternative ways to fund itself. Initial funding and angel investments will only get you so far.
This isn't the first time buzz has arisen over the possibility of a new site dethroning the current reigning social networks (hi and bye, Ello!) and while Minds will almost certainly not be the new social king, it could live a good life as a healthy alternative.