Festive greetings & happy holidays!
We turned one last month and celebrated our first cake day. Much love to everybody who strapped in with us on this exciting journey! A lot has transpired since we released our 2.0 build back in August and we’ve been doing some introspection about where we are now and where we ought to be heading in the space of alternative social media.
The Murmur Story
The idea for Murmur emerged in early 2018 on the heels of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal which turned the spotlight on issues like data ownership and online privacy. The scandal blew the lid off the social media world and exposed a bunch of glaring issues. After all these years, what did users really get from the time and attention they spent on the platform?
It became evident that the people who benefited most of conventional social media platforms are the stakeholders of these platforms and third-party AdTech companies, and all by commoditizing a user’s personal data. The prevalence of selective censorship also became known as the likes of Twitter and Youtube came under the radar for selectively suppressing (or promoting) the voices of certain groups without offering satisfactory explanations as to why.
At that time, we realized that not only was there a dearth of alternatives to Twitter, Facebook, and the likes, but there was also a steadily increasing demand for alternatives as the average user learned about the disparity between their interests and that of the platform stakeholders.
That’s when we dared to dream of a new kind of social media and networking platform and a decentralized social network at that. One where you, the users, are sovereign, not the platform; where your data would remain safe from third-party hawks, one without arbitrary content censorship, where you would reap the maximum benefits for the time and attention you expended on the platform and most importantly, one where you are in control and not subservient to the whims of the platform.
We decided to build Murmur on a blockchain since it would simultaneously address many of the above-mentioned issues. We were surely up for the subsequent challenges that would come with that decision. At the time, EOS seemed like our best bet considering its speed, scalability, low transaction fee, and Dapp-friendliness.
By November 2018, we rolled out the first build of the platform.
The initial response was mixed and that was understandable. Signing onto Murmur required an EOS account which at the time cost around $2-$3 and a wait-time of about 24 hours. Obviously, not everyone – even those who were already privy to the crypto world – had an EOS account. To make things easier for the user, we planned an airdrop. The first 10,000 users would get a free EOS account and 100 MUR tokens.
By May 2019, the response was heartwarming. We had over 5,000 accounts created and over 750 daily active users. Along the way, we tinkered around with our UI, released the 2.0 build, adopted IPFS to better handle media files on the platform and rolled out our Decibel system for users to keep track of their activities on Murmur but mainly to calculate total MUR payout a user would receive for creating and engaging with the community’s content.
It seemed like we were slowly and steadily building a solid armor against all the problems of traditional social platforms as we grew from a team of two founding members to a floating team of about twelve.
Earlier in November, we hit the first big chink in the armor. As most of you would know by now, the EIDOS airdrop suddenly turned CPU into a precious and scarce resource on the EOS blockchain. Users needed much more EOS staked to perform even simple transactions.
We stake EOS to our users’ accounts to make sure they can transact for free without any hassles on the platform and learn and explore Murmur easily. But after the crunch, the quantity we staked was not nearly enough. This made it quite cumbersome for most users to even perform the most basic actions like Snooping on Murmur. The EOS community was in a fix and the community was chock full of criticism for the blockchain’s governance and Block Producers who have still not come up with a satisfactory workaround to this day (as of publishing).
While some Dapps issued ultimatums to switch to other blockchains in case the issue wasn’t solved by a certain deadline, we at Murmur have been pondering on our own workaround to put our users at ease.
Where do we go now?
Since our advent into the world of alternative social media, the word surely has been spreading rapidly. More and more users are aware of the fact that they have a choice to opt-out of the usual din of social networks and move to one where they have greater control. Recently, even Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter announced that they are putting together a small team, called BlueSky to work on decentralizing Twitter in the near future. So the need for decentralization of social media has found mainstream acknowledgment and that is definitely good news for us and the community at large.
Meanwhile, as some of our fellow EOS-driven dApps have moved to (or are in the process of moving to) a new chain, we’re still taking stock of all our options before we take the next big step. We’re almost at the 10k-user-mark now and we still have a few EOS accounts up for grabs. We’re also looking to provide new users a method of logging onto Murmur without owning an EOS account, but we’ll tell you more about that once we have all our ducks in a row. We also have a couple of new cool features coming your way and our elves are busy tinkering away at it.
Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions or want to reach out to us, you can find us on Telegram, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or even better, drop us a Murmur or a ‘whisper’ on the app/web app.
Stay tuned for more.
Lots of love and holiday cheer,