ZuSocial Recap: Exploring Decentralized Social Networks and Their Impact on the Future

ZuSocial Recap: Exploring Decentralized Social Networks and Their Impact on the Future

Jan 15, 2024
Guo Liu

In November Istanbul, alongside the vibrant communities of ZuConnect and Devconnect, community from Matters Lab, Mask Network and Social Layer co-organized a 2-week hacker house focusing on decentralized social. It was the vibrant backdrop that brought together visionaries from the worlds of technology, blockchain, and social networking.

From the perspective of Guo Liu, CTO of Matters Lab, also one of the core member in organizing the hacker house, the series of articles assemble our learnings from ZuSocial experience, observations and in-depth discussion over the technology evolvement in decentralized social, and how we have dedicated to explore the potential of creating a better, fairer, and more transparent social network altogether.

Social networks have become integral to our lives. We obtain information, connect with friends and family, and even form our opinions through these platforms. However, the flaws within centralized social media platforms have become increasingly evident. These platforms often prioritize sensational content and personal data monetization over fostering genuine human connections. They centralize control over information flow, making them susceptible to manipulation and even weaponization during conflicts. As users, we unknowingly forfeit our thoughts and information to these platforms, contributing to the erosion of our privacy.

Decentralization emerges as a potential solution to these issues. It has the potential to make censorship and propaganda more challenging by replacing a few dominant platforms with a more diverse and equitable landscape of protocols and markets. However, building these decentralized alternatives remains an uncharted territory.

To navigate this unexplored landscape, we must draw inspiration from various fields. At ZuSocial, organizers intentionally incorporated concepts from architecture and urban planning, providing unique insights into constructing digital public spaces. The event served as a playground for experimentation and learning, fostering discussions that have culminated in a series of articles.

The First Article:“ZuConnect Decentralized Day: Lessons from the Past”


The first article explores the lessons learned during ZuConnect Decentralized Day. It delves into the insights gained from community organizers, architects, sociologists, and evolving protocols. Topics covered include trust in a decentralized world, the application of architectural principles, and the impact of non-traditional social networks on decentralized designs.

The Second Article:“What Does Blockchain Bring to Social Protocol?”


Guo’s second article reflects on social protocols and their relationship with blockchain. It discusses the popularity of Lens and Farcaster among developers, their integration with Ethereum, and the implications of blockchain on global data states, spam prevention, and monetization possibilities. It also explores the concept of using Ethereum key pairs for identity within the ActivityPub network.

The Third Article: “The Economics of Matters.Town”


This article reflected on the economic models for decentralized networks and the lessons learned from Matters.Town. It discusses the limitations of direct payments and explores the potential of blockchain-based advertisements as a means of supporting content creators while maintaining privacy and efficiency.

The Fourth Article: “Groups and Autonomous Spaces: A Mental Model for Better Social Networks”


The fourth article challenges the conventional view of social networks as networks of individuals and proposes an alternative perspective – seeing them as collections of autonomous communities. It explores the potential for decentralized autonomous spaces and discusses the role of DAOs in creating autonomous communities that are not bound by centralized control.

ZuSocial was a catalyst for innovative discussions and ideas, and these articles serve as a testament to the creative and intellectual energy that flowed during the event. As the world of decentralized social networks continues to evolve, the insights shared in these articles provide valuable perspectives on the path ahead.