I hate centralized social media apps. It's so annoying that Zuck and Elon are selling my data. I thought that NOSTR’s efforts to create a decentralized social media app would offer a great social media experience. However, after using NOSTR for a few months, here is why I think NOSTR is not going to generate the proper network effect needed to even come close to competing with traditional social media.
  1. NOSTR is difficult to get into. Sure, after 15-20 minutes of messing around, I was able to create a NOSTR account and log in to various apps. But for the average non-bitcoin maxi the effort needed to get a fugazi Twitter experience would just not be worth it. If NOSTR wants to get everyone onboard then it needs to have an easier, more intuitive onboarding experience. Normies don’t have the time to sign up with NOSTR. They are perfectly fine living their lives through a fake Instagram lens.
  2. The post quality on NOSTR sucks. Unfortunately, bitcoiners, including me, have horrible taste. Beyond the endless bitcoin echo chamber, all I found were memes that were stale in 2013 and thirst accounts trying to attract the male gaze. Put yourself in the shoes of a non-bitcoiner who just spent 15 minutes onboarding themselves onto NOSTR. Is this the content we want to greet them with?
  3. Let’s suppose some NOSTR app is able to solve all of these problems AND the onboarding process is simplified. What now? Great, we have a go-to NOSTR app now. Unfortunately, such an experience necessitates centralization. All NOSTR users would now flock to this miracle app.
  4. In hopes of monetizing the miracle app, the developers implement a feature that users don’t like. NOSTR allows users to migrate to another platform. This new platform blatantly rips off the miracle app. That’s the magic of NOSTR after all. But think about the developers who spent all their time trying to create the original NOSTR experience. They are left with a dead platform and ungrateful users.
  5. I believe that the profit incentive structure is going to be the biggest hurdle NOSTR has to overcome. Profitable features aren’t liked by users. We all know this. But developers need to be recompensated for their hard work.
  6. Operating on grants is not a sustainable incentive mechanism for developers. Developers need to be able to generate income from the NOSTR app they build. However, their users will simply flock to another application every time developers try monetizing an experience. NOSTR-maxis need to realize that empathy alone is not going to build the next best social media experience.
  7. And perhaps the final most devastating blow to NOSTR is that the best social media approaches have already been figured out. Despite how much we hate certain platforms, there is no denying that Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter have figured it out. If NOSTR is going to be building amazing clones of pre-existing websites with diminishing returns and worse network effects, perhaps we need to go back to the drawing board. TLDR: Neat idea that had me hyped; centralization inevitable; wrong profit structure; lacking user experience.
nice to have opposing views, although I'd respectfully disagree
there is a HUGE amount of development going on right now on the nostr protocol, I agree it's not normie ready yet but the tsunami head has been formed and it's currently rolling across the ocean
you might have to sail a bit deeper to understand the ramifications. The game has changed.
Nostr is NOT a facebook/twitter replacement, it's far bigger and more exciting than that
Nostr is the first open, permissionless, censorship resistant application development platform.
"Nostr is the first open, permissionless, censorship resistant application development platform."
Nice!I would like to change this nice phrase to:
Nostr is the first open, permissionless, censorship resistant, community-driven application development protocol.
And what are your thoughts on the incentive structure behind the development?
aah, you mean the funding for nostr itself?
it's worth remembering that nostr is actually just a bunch of standards, published to github
it's not a piece of software in and of itself
Nostr is just a bunch of markdown files. That's it. Funding is barely needed, as all the maintainers have vested interests in the success of the protocol.
We do have to trust those maintainers to make sensible policy decisions, but those conversations are entirely public, just go to the github site and hit follow and you will receive it all in your inbox
as a developer I prefer to build on nostr as my application will not be subject to arbitrary policy decisions / api changes / deprecations by platform providers in the future
I also benefit from integrated payments, users bring their own social graph, zero passwords required, native messaging systems...
all of which makes it faster and cheaper to create solutions
you don't even necessarily need to rent a server, you can build a client and make use of the relay network
Could you elaborate beyond the buzzwords? Genuinely curious!!
which words would you consider as buzzy?
Honestly, after using it for only a couple weeks I am getting the same vibe.
There's next to zero engagement it's just zap begging. Post after post is just trying to get zaps rather than having them come naturally through engagement.
It does feel like a circle jerk of people all trying to just get zaps rather than produce content.
I think (hope) this is a temporary state. We need a critical mass of interesting people to follow who also engage.
The poor engagement is the most surprising aspect to me. I expected it to be more like SN in that respect, where people really seem interested in discussion, but people rarely reply when I comment on their posts.
I think nostr suffers from the same fate as other attempts of bitcoin Twitter mass exodus, like to Mastodon. Initial enthusiasm where everyone joins and there is a short period of heavy usage and engagement. Then people figure out how to cross post from Twitter and then it becomes a graveyard of mindless zombie accounts. Sad to see.
That's what Minds was like when I joined last year, but now those accounts are largely silent and a lot of authentic engagement remains.
Even if nostr gets flooded with cross posting from big X personalities, that might help solve nostr's discovery problem. People can find each other in the replies on those accounts.
> We just need more people on the solana discord to vote on the solana DAO proposal and actually just engage on the solana platform with the solana nfts
That's what you sound like if you think shit is gonna fix itself through the good will of others. Social media isn't charity work
Was that meant as a reply to me? Because, I don't see the relevance.
> We NEED a critical mass of interesting people to follow who also engage.


Nostr should structure itself to enable that kind of ecosystem, not beg for it. Stacker news enabled that kind of ecosystem for Bitcoiners without begging for it. Why should nostr rely on wishful thinking?
I'm sure randomly jumping in the middle of polite conversations with belligerent irrelevant criticisms will really drive engagement. I mean, you can't find that anywhere else on the internet.
Nostr is already structured to "enable that kind of ecosystem". If nostr enthusiasts want us to use it, then it's up to them to make it a place we want to go. It's not up to us to just want to be there.
I am very passionate about this, but that is still no excuse for my actions

I just don't think it's a good growth strategy to rely on enthusiasts

Crypto companies talked a lot about "community" and "community-driven protocols" and "daos" and all that shit. It was an easy way for them to genuinely delude themselves into thinking they were making a difference. Just because we got people buying into this shit who get the ideology doesn't mean we're running an experiment that is working.
The real test that nostr needs to pass to truly be called a decentralized social media is people who don't actually give a shit about nostr using nostr because it just is better than the alternatives
This is what I was trying to communicate in a manner as snarky and as belligerently as possible.
NOSTR is a standardisation around APIs to do client / server exchange. That is fine.
More work need to happen around peer to peer scalability of messages, privacy and DDOS. That will apps, protocols and framework building alongside NOSTR. One such example is CivKit.
Sure, after 15-20 minutes of messing around, I was able to create a NOSTR account
Okay stopped reading after this, you're retarded.
Nostr has a built in intelligence test everyone must pass to use it. Definitely a great feature.

It's great to help limit growth at all costs! Keep it small and irrelevant... makes for a good rebuttal against Elon Xville

the point isnt whether i got through it or not. you NEED the average dumb normie to be on NOSTR if it wants to go big. every dumb normie is on Instagram. if it has an inbuilt filter how are the normies gonna get on XD

And you make a custodial wallet that don't work lmao

Two things:
  • It shouldn't have taken you more than five minutes to get a private key, considering most clients make it easy to join in. Hell, if you're on Minds like I am, you're handed one for free while your Minds posts become part of the network through its own relay (whenever it decides to work).
  • Mostr relay if you crave spicy and riveting activity from fediverse users; more than likely, you'll also find those same people on native Nostr accounts. I'm one of those users, fully jumping ship from my latest instance (Gleasonator, shoutout Alex) after realizing Nostr fixes every issue that the fediverse has in spite of people like Rabble and Raishma trying to ruin it by advocating for the exact same bullshit which destroyed that.
Other than that, welcome aboard. Everything else should be smooth sailing from this point onward.
You have great points, but maybe you miss the biggest one: nostr isn't an app, it's a protocol. It's email, not GMail. It's http, not Netscape Navigator.
Yes the content mostly sucks if you compare to the tailored feeds. Your mates (and mine) aren't here yet, and can't be bothered to come. Definitely true that hand outs aren't sustainable.
BUT - existing social is actually slowly dying. Fiat made it ok for ad-dollars to fund crazy ass expansion but that party is coming to an end and except for TikTok, none of them yet figured out how to survive when the ad engagement rates keep dropping like they are.. the big hope now is AI, and who knows it might well save them if the brainless masses fully outsource their agency for a bit of convenience... the problem is that the mainstream social can't afford to slim down (just look at twitter's bills) - the overheads of centralised, regulated and manipulated businesses are pretty high, not to mention the tech stack costs which are exponentially higher for spiky demand they have to manage.
The point is this - status quo is not steady, the timing for nostr is good, but we have not seen a great nostr app yet and might be a while - but one thing I 100% agree with you on is this: nostr isn't going to succeed with shitty twitter/fb/etc.. clones, the innovation that takes social to a new place is needed,
BUT it is far more possible here in nostr, where you can get up and running as a dev in n hour and have an app that talks to relays in a couple of hours.
Nostr is the in the primordial soup state - it's nothing to look at, but it's bubbling with life.
One thing I've just discovered is that Amethyst even with many relays doesn't see engagement that's shown on primal. I think Primal is leading on the centralized front. Good for them, it's what I would do too, but I'll have to see if the missing notes can be gotten with better relay choices.
Jack is the nostr spearhead... I wonder why...
Guilt from past censorship actions...?
Motivation to have a big say over the next social "revolution"?
Jack is just a random Nostrich, that donated 5M dollars for development, and is very active. That's it. Spearhead is a strong word.
oh yeah and why the fuck did everyone start hopping on the nostrtrain?
right because godhead jack give dev the money
web relays exited before nostr and that type of architecture is nothing new

he just wanna fix his shitty pr of the twitter censorlord for the libs

hes just trying to do the next big thing. twitter wasn't enough for his ego
Cost vs benefit. The cost is in learning, installation, setup, discovery. The benefits are connecting to whoever's on Nostr, resistance to bans and cancellation, participating in something young and malleable. I'm certainly forgetting some.
Anyway our task is to decrease costs and increase benefits or the perception thereof. Posts like this are very important for pointing out the costs. We could use and counterpoint that inspires by highlighting what's been great.
Only time will tell, but I'm quite bullish on nostr. We're still so early.
You need more 🫂💜🤙🏻 in your life.
Remember, we're watching Nostr being built in real time. Everything is beta at best. Enjoy it.
Have fun staying dumb
NOSTR is difficult to get into. Sure, after 15-20 minutes of messing around, I was able to create a NOSTR account and log in to various apps.
How did you go about it? For me it takes about fifteen seconds to create an account on most clients. Where did you run into trouble? What client did you use? Can you describe what happened during those fifteen minutes? Like "well the first thing I saw was __________ and that confused me because I expected __________, then I searched for help on __________ and learned..." That would be very helpful to us client devs to ensure we make onboarding to nostr an easy experience
i dont remember :(
I agree with everything you're saying about nostr in its current state, but I think zooming out a bit and taking note of the precedent nostr sets for future social media -- that's where I see it fixing things over time.
It obv needs better ux, but so did btc once, and look where it is today.
I think the comments have mostly convinced me. Still, I have not found a response to the centralization issue.
  1. In regards to pint 3, the killer apps will probably be closed source. At the moment there is a lot of cooperation to build the protocol. In the future they will be like competing email providers.
  2. That apps that likely make nostr grow, won't be social media, but something like a music streaming service that allows you to view trending songs of the people you follow or a restaurant review app that lets you see the social graph of the reviewers to determine if they are legit. The social media apps will be the home page of the nostr ecosystem to enable discovery
  3. The network effect of all these apps is cumulative
TL:DR it's still early and you seem to make a ton of assumptions about the maximum potential for open source
Delete this.
NOSTR’s efforts to create a decentralized social media app
This is a misrepresentation of what nostr is. Your frustration seems to based on a misrepresentation.