Is HowDoo the future of social media platforms? An inside look at HowDoo's ambitious Facebook alternative

Profile picture for user barb.mosher By Barb Mosher Zinck February 14, 2019
Can Facebook and its Instagram tentacles be unseated? Seems unlikely, but the cracks in the data armor are showing. A blockchain-powered alternative seems farfetched, but HowDoo has some refreshing ideas to consider.

Facebook is all about community. Giving people a place to share their lives with family and friends... Who are we kidding? Facebook is all about making money. Not you, the user, making money, but Facebook.

Facebook sold your data, harvests your usage patterns, makes you pay to update your community from your Facebook Page and sells advertising that most are not interested in seeing. Is this what has become of our social networks? Meet HowDoo, and it’s completely opposite take on social media and the power of its users.

Giving back control to the user

HowDoo is an up and coming blockchain-powered social media platform. Its founder David Brierley shared his vision for the platform and how it enables its users, content contributors and advertisers to do what they want without the exploitation that is evident in social networks like Facebook.

HowDoo, which has a planned launch date towards the end of April, is different in a couple of ways.

For users

Brierley told me that many younger millennials and generation Zer’s have discounted Facebook. These users want a new experience, one that combines streaming, pictures, video, blogging, gamification - a platform that offers everything in one place. With no loyalty to platforms, this generation of users are device dependent and spend twice as many hours on their device as others.

Powered by blockchain, individual users can decide if the HowDoo platform has access to their activity (think data passport). HowDoo users can choose who they want to share their data through settings on their app. They can opt-in to receiving ads as well, and they’ll also get a percentage of ad revenues generated from using their information. According to Brierley, there is full transparency on the blockchain.

For content owners

Spend some time on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, and you’ll come across lots of people who create great content. But other than YouTube (and that’s becoming harder to monetize) how do they make money from it?

Brierley said HowDoo is a place where content creators can show their content and then choose if and how they will monetize it. He said they can provide it free with tipping (like Twitch) and the content owner will get 100% of the tip. Or they can set up one of two monetization options:

  • VIP section - one-time fee or a regular subscription where they provide exclusive content
  • Embed a paywall - again, a one time fee or a subscription

How the content creator decides to monetize their content is completely up to them. Brierley said they also get to decide if there are ads on their channel and what types (categories) of ads. And keep in mind, only those users who have opted into receiving ads will see them anyway.

For advertisers

There is a place on HowDoo for advertisers, and they get more control than they do on networks like Facebook. In HowDoo, the advertiser gets to move away from the traditional CPC model (cost per click) to CPA (cost per acquisition). CPA is not something advertisers can do on any other social platform, said Brierley. Advertisers can select the channels and genres they want to advertise on, and they have full transparency into their campaigns allowing them to adapt them as necessary to improve them.

Gearing up for launch

This all sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? Users with control, content creators who can monetize their content, advertisers with greater insights into their campaigns, who wouldn’t want to sign up now?

Brierley is getting some fairly big name support. Of the 180 launch supporters, a combination of individuals and companies with strong social footprints, IBM is one of the bigger names. On the MSP Hub, IBM had this to say,

Currently in Beta, Howdoo is working on full launch in Q1 2019, and IBM as a launch supporter are fully testing the site in the beta and will be building channels of content for the site launch. We are excited to be building a community on Howdoo, and providing value through content, engagement, and offers, and will also investigate how to utilise the platform to reach new potential customers using their unique user-controlled opt-in advertising model.

Gabriela Salzano, IBM’s NextGen Tech Services Provider Marketing Leader, says:

We’re excited to be working with innovative companies like Howdoo, and to support them with accelerating their ambitions. We also look forward to welcoming solutions providers and all kinds of IT companies to our new Howdoo channel.

There will be a number of channels filled with fresh content available at launch. The current launch partners have a combination of 130 million fans, and Brierley's hoping to attract at least 1% of that fanbase.

There’s another group of big influencers they are working with that aren’t launch partners but are interested in seeing how things go. This group of influencers includes 20-30 of the top YouTube influencers who are waiting to see if HowDoo can prove it can handle multi-million hits before they decide to get on board.

HowDoo launched in beta the end of December last year and currently have over 2,500 community members helping with testing.

Brierley says they aren’t expecting to be as profitable as Facebook. For his team, it’s about sharing a percentage of the revenues. And it’s a belief that in the modern world it will become a defacto standard that all users should have control of their digital identities. He also knows they have their work cut out for them. It will not be an easy road to compete with the giants, but they are looking forward to the fight.

My take

I haven’t spent a lot of time on social media lately partly because of a lack of control over my experience. But the idea of being apart of a social network that allows me to have control of my digital identity and gives me a platform to share unique content that I could monetize is enticing.

Of course, this starts with cryptocurrency in the form of a cryptographic token called µDoo. There’s much to understand about the HowDoo client application and the wallet and how that will translate into real-world currency, but HowDoo says it is committed to making that part of the experience equal to that of Paypal or Stripe.

I think this is a social network worth watching closely. Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s not the social network for the younger generations. HowDoo does have an opportunity to do something good here.