Issue #5: Portable communities
Happy Monday and a big welcome to the 26 new subscribers who have joined us since last week's issue.
I've been getting a lot of replies to these emails with questions about web3 and the topics I've covered. So, starting next week, I'm going to answer one reader's question in the newsletter each week.
In other words... Hit reply and send me your web3 questions.
1. The paradox of being early to web3
I recently read this article about building a website in 1995, and it hurt my brain the same way that learning basic web3 concepts for the first time did.
Back in the '90s, if you wanted to set up a website of your own, you had to know how to code in HTML. You had to buy a domain from a registrar and rent space on the internet. You had to understand jargon-y acronyms like FTP, DNS and ISP.
These days, you don't need to know how the internet works to build a website. You simply sign up for Squarespace or Wix, drag and drop a few things and hit "publish". If you’re savvy on the tools, you might use WordPress.
Being early typically makes it easier to succeed—you were more likely to be found as one of 31,000 web pages on the internet in 1995 than as one of the 25 billion+ pages in 2022. But being early also makes it harder to succeed, as you don't yet have the tools to make it simple. Right now, these tools are being built and launched at an unprecedented pace.
We also don't yet have the language for mainstream adoption. How a blockchain operates is a complex concept to grasp. So is fungibility and non-fungibility. But will the majority need to understand these in order to use products built on web3? Probably not.
And so we'll shift away from using jargon like "NFTs" or "web3". We might adopt more user-friendly terms like "digital collectibles" (as both Reddit and Meta have coined them). Or it might all just become something we call "the internet".
What this means for you: Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s taking a while to wrap your head around web3. Don’t write it off as something that’s too techy for you or your audience to adopt. It's still early and we don’t yet have all the tools.
Web3 still has a lot of beefing up to do:
2. No more captive communities
Imagine pouring your time, energy and marketing budget into growing a community, only to one day find that your members are no longer shown the content they signed up for.
Sadly, this is what happened to many Facebook group owners a little while back. It left them in a pickle because they only had two options: Keep running the community and accept that engagement would be lower, or close it down altogether.
In the Web 2.0 world, communities are platform-dependent. You can't simply move your Facebook group to a Telegram channel or a Discord server. At least, not without losing a lot of members in the process.
Web3 solves this problem with tokenised communities—portable communities comprised of people who all hold a particular token, whether that’s an NFT, or a fungible token such as a specific coin. Holding that token gives you access to the community everywhere it operates online.
Guild.xyz is one tool making this possible right now. To set up a Guild (their term for a community) you need to define three things: requirements, roles and rewards.
Requirements are the criteria for unlocking the community roles. For example, you could require someone to hold a certain NFT and follow you on Twitter before they can access the community.
Different roles can be created to differentiate different types of membership, such as a paying member vs. a free member. Each role will have different requirements.
And rewards are what someone unlocks as part of meeting the requirements for a particular role. For example, if someone holds the required NFT for the paying member role, they might unlock access to the community Discord server and Telegram channel.
What this means for you: The future of communities is portability, meaning that instead of congregating in one place (like a Facebook Group), the community exists in multiple places across the internet. Web3 makes this possible.
Thanks for reading Web3 for Marketers! Subscribe to get the weekly email straight to your inbox:
3. Creators getting paid
Last week, I came across Phaver—an app that calls itself a "share-to-earn decentralized social platform". Although the messaging sounded a bit pyramid scheme-ish, I'm curious about how web3 social might change the game for content creators, so I downloaded it and signed up.
Phaver works like this: each day, you're given 5 tokens to "stake" on the 5 best pieces of content you see that day. If the post becomes popular, you receive a reward.
I like the concept. You help them curate the best content and in return, you get rewarded.
But it's still in the invite-only stage, which means a fairly small number of users. And if there's one thing I know about social media, it's that you need wide adoption for it to work properly.
Here's an invite link if you're wanting to download the app. You can use the code EARLYBIRD for access.
What this means for you: Do I think that Phaver is going to be the next Instagram? No. But I do think it's a great example of what's possible for a social media platform where creators and curators are rewarded (rather than exploited, the way they are with centralised social media at the moment).
If you've made it all the way down here, that means either you found this interesting, or you're on your way to the unsubscribe button at the bottom.
Either way, I'd love it if you could please take 2 minutes to let me know how I'm doing. What would you like to see more of? Less of?
Until next week,
PS. Did someone forward you this email? Click here to get the weekly emails straight to your inbox, minus the middleman.
This should go without saying, but I am a marketer, not a financial advisor. The content in this email is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as financial advice. Please take care and do your own research before investing in any web3 projects.