How Lens Protocol Changes Non-Social Networks

How Lens Protocol Changes Non-Social Networks

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Nick Tindle
ยทNov 16, 2022ยท

3 min read

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Lens Protocol is a self-described composable and decentralized social graph, but what does that mean?

Lens Protocol allows developers to plug a well-connected social graph into any application without the need to onboard users and fill out profiles. The same team who brought you AAVE Protocol also built Lens Protocol. Lens' mission promises to provide the last social media handle you will ever need. You can find me on it at @ntindle.lens.

The ability to quickly and easily source a social graph cannot be understated. It allows users to swap from apps like Lenstube.xyz (a youtube clone) to Lenster.xyz (a Twitter clone) and brings all their followers, friends, and posts with them. It is the ultimate social media launching ground and will fundamentally change how users interact with social media as a whole.

However, it has another potent ability: the power to bootstrap non-social media apps. There are hundreds of web2 apps that are forced to build out some social graph tracking for one reason or another. Here are a few examples:

  • Venmo has a fragile social media system that primarily consists of emojis and two-word phrases because the app requires it. Venmo wants this data for many reasons, but at its base, the goal is to show that people use Venmo. This requires every user of Venmo to create a profile that fundamentally doesn't benefit them in any significant way. Building a Lens Protocol equivalent of Venmo would allow the developer to strip out a considerable portion of the work of building the app and enable the user to import their existing social network.
  • Spotify's failing social media component allows users to see what their friends are listening to. It's dying for many reasons, but a large part is a feature that's not the core of what Spotify supports: listening to music. Yet, Spotify builds components on top of it that almost encourage users to have friends, such as Spotify Blends. Spotify could ultimately rip out the current implementation and add a "Sign in with Lens" button to seed a social graph that would be truly useful to the user.
  • Duolingo has a leaderboard feature that shows you how you stack up against others learning a language. It also has follower integrations that let you see how those around you are doing over time. Lens Protocol could replace all this and let me know how I stack up against Nader and his learnings when I follow him on Lenster.

There are a million more examples I could give, but they all boil down to Lens Protocol being able to take over the work of building the social graph for the user. This is a massive benefit to the user as they no longer have to upload their contacts to every social media app they've ever used to be able to find people they've already connected to somewhere else.

Lens Protocol can fundamentally change how people interact with the products around them. Let's see if they can execute the promises it holds.

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