The folk at Team Organic have been back trying out more tech and, you guessed it, we’ve got some opinions.
This time our Social Media Manager, Donna, and I are sharing our thoughts on the cryptocurrency and social media site Minds.
What is Minds?
If you’ve not yet heard of Minds you’d be in the majority, but there’s every chance that you will hear about it in the future as the full extent of Facebook’s data scandal come to light.
Minds mission is to offer its users something in return for agreeing to share their data on their platform. Minds markets itself as an open source social media network with the potential for users to earn money from it.
Launched in 2015, Minds is on first sight like any other social media network, with elements of Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn all playing a part.
The use of tokens, which don’t yet translate to currency, can be used within the platform to boost a user’s own posts. For instance, by getting them onto other people’s timelines or by paying an individual to share it.
This internal community idea comes with both upsides and downsides, as Donna and I saw for ourselves.
What’s your overall first impression of Minds?
Donna: My first impression was that the content is very diverse but marginally political at the same time, you can’t seem to escape the amount of vibrant opinions that seems to be threading through the newsfeed.
Lauren: It takes a bit of getting used to the ins and outs of it but the initial layout is similar to the social channels we know. What was more difficult to get my head around was how the cryptocurrency idea entered into the equation, although after a bit of use I eventually came to understand this too.
Why do you think it stands out from other social media sites?
Donna: The point of Minds is that it does not censor such as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter do and you can tell this is the case from the wide array of content available here. Comparatively, you can speak more freely there, which is what the platform is known for.
Lauren: While it’s been around for a few years, Minds has really benefitted from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that’s hit Facebook hard and had their users thinking about the way their data is processed. Minds appeals to users of regular social channels because it’s a ‘decentralised’ platform and can offer those using it an amount of peace of mind.
What do you think it does particularly well?
Donna: There is nothing quite like it, it is very diverse and doesn’t censor the people who use the platform. I do like the fact they have adopted the Reddit style of up voting and down voting.
Lauren: The lack of censorship means it’s filled with a variety of posts offering different opinions, which we don’t generally see on any other social platforms. The layout is also very clean and the encrypted built-in chat can put users at ease.
Is there anything that doesn’t work for you?
Donna: It seems to highlight organic activity, the more active you are the more cryptocurrency you receive to boost your own posts. However it seems to be a bit of a false economy while the currency allows you to get more reach, it doesn’t promote engagement and the engagement you do receive from other people seems very ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.’ I met one genuine person during my time on Minds.
The majority of content I came across was highly radical, peppered with a few artists and poets. For me, it seems to be a platform that a lot of people flock to after the standard social media platforms have banned them for being vocal on their views.
Also, the trending hashtags rarely seem to change and are very broad.
Lauren: While I didn’t make full use of the cryptocurrency facilities, there are a few other issues with the platform which I encountered. While the ‘free speech’ approach is great in theory, it seems to be filled with a lot of radical opinions which would likely scare a lot of users off the platform, and is why people tend to stick to the major platforms.
At this stage, the groups are fairly limited and it’s only once a larger number of people use Minds that it will become more appealing to me as a user – at the minute there’s a lot of room for new topics.
What suggestions would you make for it to improve?
Donna: There are so many suggestions, however, my main one would be to come up with a system that promotes more actual engagement that encourages people to actually speak to each other as opposed to boosting the economy they have created.
Lauren: I think some touches are nice, such as the fact you can personalise your profile a bit with a banner picture. However, some improvements could be made such as a clearer ‘discover’ section where you can find new users and what they offer – rather than having to click on each profile to get a description.
Will you continue using it?
Lauren: This social platform doesn’t really fit in with my own personal use of social media, so while it was fun to try something different and get to know more about the data-use of some platforms, I’ll still be sticking to the usual platforms for sharing information.