Social media today is probably the largest source of information for many users and the best part is since it is just a platform it is generating revenues without actually producing any original content. In fact the original content creating media houses are using social media just to find more consumers of their content. However this format itself has landed many social media companies in trouble in terms of the authenticity and the sensitivity of the viral content.
The real power for the social media has come from blurring the lines between producers and consumers as well as from the specificity of the information available for a particular consumer based on his own peer group. At the same time, while the consumption is monetized by the social media companies in form of targeted advertisement, the original content creator has to give it for free to the platform satisfying their need of recognition only.
For social media platforms, the revenues are akin to the number of users that they have and therefore they have tried to get their platforms at cheaper prices to their users. This has been tried by providing access to these platforms free of internet usage charges. The basic premise against what we call ‘net neutrality’ where these platforms have faced oppositions. All these considering the users as just user and not creating a distinction between them as generators or consumers of content.
The next level of growth for social media is bound to come from a solution that takes care of all the three conditionsgrowing awareness about authenticity of content, revenues for original content creators and distinction in revenue approaches for different used of social media. A method to do this would be to provide monetary incentives to content creators and sharing some revenues with them(for example I get paid for this article if it is read, liked and shared by say a 100 people). This would allow for creation of more and more original content which has more value than just an information value. This content can back the content seekers as well to the fold of social media creating longer engagement leading to higher revenues for the platform.It can also bring back the earning class of the society which was active in their college days and has limited exposure to social media just to maintain friendship connects.
This has to be executed through a new kind of contract with the users who are generators and consumers of content on the platform. Where the generator has to be sure about the content that it is posting and concerns raised on the authenticity or sensitivity relating to the content.The platform can create clauses where it has the right to not pay or to forfeit previous / future payments made to the generator. The consumers also have the option to question / raise concern about the authenticity of the content thus converting them as active reviewers than mere consumers of the content.
This might not be a fool proof idea for tackling the problems with social media today but may add a lot of credibility to the platform itself which will not require to completely police the zillion contents that flows through its system.