An Introduction to the Minds Social Network
Dumping facebook? Looking for a place to share your content?
Minds started in 2015 in response to what its creators saw as increased censorship and loss of privacy in the major social networks at the time. They wanted an open, secure, and transparent platform on which people could interact, create and promote content, and share information. A further goal was to incentivize interaction and sharing.
The minds.com Incentives - content views as a medium of exchange?
To understand the incentive program, one needs an overview of the type of content that can be posted on minds.com. Like other platforms, you can post status updates, which can be as long or as short as desired, and can include pictures, videos, and Internet links. There are also Blogs. The nomenclature on minds differs a bit from other blog hosting platforms. Elsewhere, you generally have a blog on which you post multiple blog posts. On minds, each such post is called a blog, and together with your status updates, constitute your channel. Blogs can have embedded pictures and multimedia, and unlike status updates, they can be formatted with various markup options.
Everyone sees a news feed, which is an accumulation of status updates and blog posts from contributors around the world. What appears in your news feed can be somewhat customized based on people you've subscribed to, people you've blocked, and prefered topics of interest.
Minds desktop view
The "Old" Incentive program
The incentives program on minds.com started out as a point system. Participants were rewarded for checking in and reading / viewing content, posting, commenting,voting other peoples' submissions up or down, and re-sharing content (which minds calls 'reminding'). So what could you do with these points?
You use them to 'boost' content - either yours or someone else's. So for example, you could exchange 1000 points for 1000 views. That means the minds software would make sure that content showed up in news feeds until it had been viewed at least 1000 times. Now that's not a guarantee that 1000 people took the time to read the content - but the collection of viewers had 1000 opportunities to do so.
You could 'wire' points to other users, as a tip or reward for producing content you enjoy. You could even offer points to other content providers (presumably the more popular ones) in exchange for them promoting your content, ie; 'reminding' it.
Enter the BlockChain
Recently the incentive program on minds.com has undergone one radical change. Instead of being based on an arbitrary point system, it is now based on Blockchain technology, similar to a cryptocurrency. Backed by the Ethereum decentralized Blockchain platform, the rewards program now uses Minds Tokens as the medium of exchange. These tokens can be 'off-chain' - meaning basically the same as the old points, not based on Blockchain technology, or 'on-chain' - using the decentralized Ethereum platform. Users can transfer their tokens between the two options. Aside from the introduction of 'Tokens' and Blockchain technology, the incentives operate exactly the same as they did in the past. They can be used to boost content, reward other members, etc. The addition of the Blockchain means that users should be able to exchange 'ether' (the unit of exchange on the Ethereum platform) for other, non-minds.com related goods and services, including cash. Note: right now the minds token is running on a test network until the bugs are worked out. The goal is to migrate to the production Ethereum network in the near future.
Are there any downsides to minds.com?
In a word, no. It's a relatively new platform with a brand-new incentive infrastructure, so there are still bugs to work out. For example, while affiliate / referral links are not technically against the rules, a few users have reported issues with them. Minds.com has its own referral program, you earn a percentage based on purchases made by people you've referred to Minds. If you want to participate in the incentives program, you'll have to provide a unique phone number capable of receiving an authentication code. Only authenticated users can benefit from the token program. This can be a challenge for people with no cell phone, but nearly everyone has some way of sending and receiving texts these days.
There is one caveat about minds.com. It is a decentralized, open, free exchange of ideas, with built-in support for anonymity. If you explore it, you're going to find a lot of things to like. You're also going to find political, social, and ideological opinions expressed in the strongest possible terms, not all of which will agree with yours. You can ignore them (I do this a lot), debate them (I do this a lot, too), or get offended and indignant and complain to the administrators. If you have a tendency to lean toward that 3rd option, minds.com may not be a good choice for you.
Is it Worth Creating an Account on Minds.com?
For me, the answer is yes. Without putting in a ton of effort, I've accumulated enough points (now tokens) that I could exchange for nearly 35,000 additional views (the screenshot below was taken a few weeks ago). I've already picked up over 175 subscribers and over 26,000 page views. That's with 3 blog posts and a couple dozen status updates, plus a smattering of upvotes, downvotes, comments, and reminds. Status updates can easily be used to promote your content published elsewhere. Finally, once the Minds Token project moves from the test network to the Production Ethereum network, that should turn into a direct revenue stream.
You can find me on minds.com as tdoniphan.