How to Join Subsocial

Subsocial is a platform which stores your content in a decentralized way. There's no central server to censor your information or delete your messages. This UI is hosted on a central server, but the data is on IPFS (interplanetary file system) with content addresses stored on a blockchain. In layman's terms, that means your content is always there and immutable, and if the UI decides to not show something, someone else can make a browser extension or an alternative UI to show that content. With Subsocial, you are unstoppable.

This brief guide will show you how to join Subsocial.

Note: Subsocial is still in beta. Please excuse bugs and missing features.


Step 1: Create an account

Your account is pair of cryptographic keys. A public one becomes your address - think of it like your bitcoin address: everyone can read it and send you tokens with it. The private part of the keypair is your "password" which allows you to use the account, i.e. send tokens out of it and interact with Subsocial (write to it - reading from it is free).

To get your own account, you should install the Polkadot JS browser extension and create an account. There's a visual guide here. The extension can be used to interact with any Substrate-based blockchain, of which there are hundreds. Subsocial is one such blockchain.

Note: A single account in the extension can be used to interact with all the chains - no need to make a new one for each - but be mindful of privacy implications (the accounts can be linked).

Once your account has been created, Subsocial will ask you to approve access to the extension when your refresh the UI.

Approve extension

Once you approve it, your account will become visible in the top right corner.

Visible account.

Step 2: Get some tokens

Interacting with the Subsocial chain takes some tokens. This is because every time you do a write operation (i.e. submit a like, a comment, a post, or create a new space) you store something on every single computer which is running this blockchain. This added computer processing needs to be paid for - blockchains are very bad and inefficient databases that excel at data redundancy and censorship resistance, but suck at efficiency. You can read from the chain for free, that doesn't tax the software or hardware at all, but writing takes up space - forever.

To get some tokens, check if the Faucet is working and drip some into your account. Alternatively, go into the Subsocial telegram and ask for some - someone from the team will be there able to give some out.

Note that tokens are also a spam-prevention method. We realize this is a big barrier to usability, but it's a necessary one in an ecosystem of immutable forever-data like a blockchain.

Step 3: Subsocial it up

Spaces are like collections of posts by a single owner. Think of them like Medium collections. For example, I might have a blog (that's the space this post is in), and I also have a Dot Leap space where I publish a newsletter about all things Web3. I also have a Snaps space where I publish blockchain backup databases.

The Explore section will let you learn about spaces you can follow. Following means adding them to your home page, like joining a subreddit. You can follow both authors and spaces. For example, clicking on my profile would let you follow me.

You can create your own space as well. If you'd like to join a subreddit-like community, we currently do not have the option to co-author inside a space within the UI (though this functionality does exist on the chain if someone wants to build it or use the advanced UI to use it), but you can create a "subreddit-like" community by tagging a post you write with a tag that community shares.

For example, let's say I'm a blockchain enthusiast. Then, if I tag my post with blockchain, I will be able to click on this tag on my post - so will other people. This will lead to a link like https://app.subsocial.network/search?tags=blockchain which you can then browse. These links are then effectively "subreddits". The Subsocial team are working on making this more streamlined and familiar, like on Reddit.


If you get stuck - hit me up on Telegram (Swader) or Twitter (@bitfalls). I'll try and help out!

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