If you’re like me, then you are lamenting the days when understanding the internet didn’t take much effort. You are now feeling old, because there is a new, third wave of the internet and it’s uncharted waters.
If you want more info on what Web3, this article was a great place for me to start. And this community is for all things web3 (though if I’m honest I haven’t dove in to this space yet). I’m going to do my best to synthesize what I’ve come across. I might not get it exactly right because I’m still learning, but I figured this is important enough to get out before it’s perfected.
Quick Rundown on Web3
Web1: The birth of the internet
When computers were first created, the only people who leveraged them were highly skilled, highly specialized people who were creating and interpreting data and information.
Web 2: The age of centralized power and storage.
Now, the internet is open to everyone. Companies that got started during this era (*cough: Facebook) quickly monopolized the industry and built behemoth platforms. Because we were skeptical of using a credit card on the internet, companies created free products (*read: you became the product and they now own any and all content you ever posted on that platform). Queue the dumpster fire we are currently roasting in.
Web 3: Decentralizing power and storage
Think of this stage simply as a new way of storing information. Instead of just a couple centralized data houses, the way Web 3 stores data is fundamentally different with what they call the blockchain. A blockchain is “a digitally distributed, decentralized, public ledger that exists across a network.” It’s a ledger. Documenting all the trades or transactions of a specific item (let’s call that item a token). Now, here’s the thing, every single ledger is cross-referencing with all the other ledgers. Making it the most secure and reportedly “unhackable” way to store data.
This really hit home for me when I heard it put this way: In Web 2, you have an idea, so you post it in a tweet. Twitter owns that tweet. That tweet goes viral and Twitter’s stocks go up. In Web 3, you have an idea, so you post to the web3 version of twitter. YOU own that tweet. When the tweet goes viral, the real value isn’t reflected in twitter’s stocks, it is tied to that specific token (your tweet). You could even sell it off to the highest bidder.
Web 3 is sort of like the internet now has a way of recognizing and cataloging private property without a middle man, which has massive implications.
Cool, so what does that have to do with community?
Community + Content
Communities are often intrinsically linked to content. Community managers are constantly spinning their wheels on how to get members “engaged” (ie. Creating content in their community, which is essentially a marketplace.) The only promise web 2 could make to content creators was that they might get some exposure that could funnel leads into their money-making endeavors. But now, in Web3, the content itself has trackable value.
Community + Gamification
Discord communities are taking the lead on this because their members are warmed (and even addicted) to the game layer within their community. But communities outside of discord stand to benefit from the enhanced game layer that is sitting passenger side to Web3. For example, if your community leverages points as a reward for specific approved actions taken by members, rewarding with cryptocurrency is not very far out of reach. If you want a prime example of it, see Reddit.
Community + Value
The value of tokens in Web3 is based off of perception. The more engaged and dedicated your community members are, the more you are able to influence the perceived value of any tokens produced in your community.
Okay so how do I get started?
More to come on this, but I recommend at least introducing a basic game layer in your community (either through badges or points) to get your community warmed up to the concepts of Web3. More of my thoughts on badges vs. points HERE.
Photo credit: Markus Spiske from Unsplash
About the Author
Bri Leever is Chief Community Architect at Ember, a splasher of water, and lover of books doing life in an ever-changing migration pattern ✈️