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Zooming out:
A review of Web3’s components

No matter if it’s on a podcast, here in The Wild West of Web3, on my LinkedIn, or at public events, one thing I keep on saying is this:

“Web3 doesn’t have to be complicated”

And why am I repeating this today? Well, before we jump into the actual subject of this edition, I want to first make sure we are on the same page.

You may have seen different definitions of “what Web3 means”.

Well, mine is that Web3 is the evolution of the internet.

“Ok, Diego. But what does that REALLY mean?”

I’m sure you have seen me using this image before 😄 

Long story short: We can do MORE things on Web3, and do it BETTER.

From a Zoom call to an immersive/interactive corporate training session on a Metaverse platform; or a loyalty card moving to a token-based program where points can be traded, redeemed, or used on different platforms. The opportunities are endless.

What I am trying to say (and show), is that it’s important to establish that Web3 goes WAY beyond collecting NFTs, buying Bitcoin, or trying to understand what a Blockchain is.

Yes, all these actions make part of the whole ecosystem, but today I want to invite you for an adventure into one of the things people – and MANY businesses – are sleeping on: the “Social” part of this evolution.

OPEN DISCUSSION

“Open discussion” is the section I’ll use to share ideas and views I have about different topics within the Web3 environment. In short, just my opinion on stuff I’m seeing.

Is current Social Media really “Social”?

I usually leave the “Open discussion” section for the end. However, today I want to use it to start a conversation that – hopefully – will make more sense by the end of this edition. LFG!

So, let’s start with a tricky question (and I’d like you to think how would you answer it before scrolling down):

What is social media? – Think about it for a second before scrolling down…

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Almost there…

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An article by McKinsey gives this definition:

“Social media comprises the applications and websites that allow people to interact with other users, businesses, communities, and content”. —>

In case you prefer a lengthier one, The University of South Florida says that:

“Social media is an internet-based form of communication. Social media platforms allow users to have conversations, share information, and create web content. There are many forms of social media, including blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, social networking sites, photo-sharing sites, instant messaging, video-sharing sites, podcasts, widgets, virtual worlds, and more”.

So in short, I guess it’s safe to say that they are – at least in theory – a space for people to communicate/interact with each other.

But that leads me to another question: How long has it been since you ACTUALLY used Social Media to connect with someone?

I’m not talking about accepting a new “friend request” on LinkedIn or “Liking” a post on Facebook. I mean a REAL connection – as in socialized/interacted, as you’d do in real life.

Broadly speaking, our current experience on Social Media boils down to a mixture of “CONSUME MORE” + Constant dopamine shots (YouTube shorts, TikTok, Reels, etc.) + An algorithm that keeps us in echo chambers.

Then rinse and repeat.

My point with all this is that – at least in my opinion – the Social Media as we know it (Facebook, Instagram, etc), have lost the Social factor.

I’m not saying these platforms are “dead” – I mean, look at their valuations and revenues. But I am saying that there’s a clear shift taking place. And we may have another opportunity to “hop on” the next thing while it’s being developed.

Are you coming with me?

GenZ’s attention:
Socializing in the New Frontier

The stats don’t lie: Gen Z is reshaping the social landscape, moving towards the interactive possibilities of Web3 and the Metaverse.

On platforms like Roblox, engagement skyrockets to 180 minutes a day on average, surpassing time spent on legacy “social” networks. It’s clear that the Metaverse, with its immersive experiences and digital communities, is becoming the new social hub for younger generations.

Yes → 4 times more time on Roblox than on Instagram

One of the main factors about these immersive environments (Roblox, Fortnite, Decentraland, Spatial, Skodaverse, etc.) is that users can craft their digital identities and foster genuine connections.

Yes, they are consuming content, but they also are architects of their own experiences, creating spaces and events that reflect their personalities and interests.

The Metaverse offers them a (digital) reality where their avatars can interact in ways that mirror real-life socializing – going on quests, attending to online events, collaborating on projects, and forming groups/clans/teams with global friends.

Their best friend might be someone they’ve never met in person.

And what about attending a musical experience with your friends within an immersive space?

3 years ago (so no, not a 2023 “new hype”) Travis Scott delivered a great performance on Fortnite:

Since then, some of the world’s best-selling artists have been featured, including Ariana Grande and Eminem, and more recently, a game mode starring The Weeknd was released:

So, when it comes to things like “social”, “interaction”, or “keeping the user’s attention”, we are talking about a bar that’s being set higher and higher each day.

However, despite all these indicators, trends, and reports, many people – and businesses – still see this shift as something “for kids only” or just another “videogame”.

It’s, in fact, quite the opposite: immersive platforms haven’t been “just” a gaming space for a long time. They have become content, social spaces that also offer gaming experiences.

In that direction, another thing that I keep repeating whenever I have the chance is that:

“Trying to predict the future by looking at the present is the biggest mistake you can make in innovation”

So yeah, many things could be improved when it comes to Web3/immersive social platforms, but remember not that long ago, this was peak web design 😅:

“But I’m old”
“OK, Boomer”

Regardless of your age, or your view on Web3, one thing is certain: retaining users’ attention has become a very challenging task.

Look, I’m past my 30s, so “my generation” (which I believe includes many of you reading this) saw the transition from static websites to responsive ones. The move from Desktop to Mobile.

And if today a good app or a mobile-first website might be enough for us, it’s clear that offering a great, engaging, immersive experience is set to become essential for companies that want to talk to new generations and keep them “hooked”.

They won’t try navigating a sh*tty website for 30 extra seconds if whatever they were looking for isn’t easily accessible.

Now imagine the perception – and demand for high-quality experiences – the younger generations will have once they become the main consumers.

Gamified and/or immersive experiences (by the way, “Immersive Web” was covered in our edition #11) are already part of these groups’ expectations, and if your project/brand is not ready to provide this, expect potential users to leave.

Simple as that.

We love a non-responsive website, right? – Now imagine someone born after 2000.

But what’s in it for brands?

According to a study from WP Engine and The Center for Generational Kinetics, 41% of American Zoomers will leave a website if it doesn’t predict what they need

Another interesting number: According to Roblox’s “2023 Digital Expression, Fashion & Beauty Trends” report, Gen Z is becoming more and more interested in outfitting their digital avatars, and some say they enjoy it more than outfitting their physical selves.

And 52% (!) of respondents said they’d be willing to spend at least $10 a month on digital fashion.

Add to the equation that over 70% of Roblox users get their sessions rolling on mobile devices and will have a clearer vision of how things have changed.

So, back to the “So, what is in for brands?” question:

MANY indicators show that shopping, engagement, social interaction, and other aspects of younger generations’ lives will be influenced by what happens in virtual environments.

For brands, providing better, immersive, engaging experiences in those environments presents a whole world of opportunities. And since traditional ad-driven models won’t cut it; instead, marketers need to weave their narratives into the fabric of the metaverse.

By taking advantage of the endless possibilities these virtual spaces offer, brands have a unique chance to create meaningful connections with their next wave of fans and consumers.

Since younger generations tend to spend more time online, being there becomes even more important for brands that want to remain relevant.

A fashion or beauty brand, for instance, shouldn’t ignore a social movement that can influence 20-40% of their potential consumers. And that’s within today’s environment – imagine the scenario in 5-10 years 🤯.

Imagine being a fashion brand and ignoring this chart…

“But Diego, my business has nothing to do with fashion”

As much as the Fashion and apparel industry has a clear(er) way to interact with users in the Metaverse, it’s far from being the only one.

According to the “The State of Virtual Brand Experiences 2023” report by GEEIQ, Food & Drink, Sports, and Fitness & Health also continue to enjoy growth.

In past editions of The Wild West of Web3, we explored immersive initiatives in different areas, including:

– Immersive shopping experience for a beauty brand
– Virtual booth for a Telecom company
– An entire virtual wellness ecosystem
– Product development

At the end of the day, as a brand, “being there” – in the spaces where new generations spend their time and SOCIALIZE – is a smart way to stay connected with the people who will be (more) active in the economy soon. And the same way it happened to us, they will mostly stick to brands that grew with them.

Still on the fence about the future of social media?

WALKING THE TALK

Walking the talk” is the section in the Wild West of Web3 I dedicate to projects I am directly involved with.

I’ll share with you what I’m seeing in the Web3 trenches, what I’m discussing with the suits in meetings with Fortune 500 brands, and what I invest my money and time on.

No bullsh*t, no sugar coating. Real talk.

Lens Protocol: the user-owned social platform

Imagine a social platform that’s not just a network but a whole new environment where creators are the owners and players – all at the same time.

Built on Polygon’s Proof-of-Stake blockchain, Lens Protocol is quick, efficient, and eco-friendly – a triple win for your digital ventures.

One of my favorite features of Lens Protocol is its empowerment of users. Their connections and content are adaptable, transferable, and utterly personal.

In other words, users’ digital life is portable, moving with them across the Web3 universe without the hitch of traditional platforms.

Lens Protocol skips the usual battle for your attention with invasive algorithms, shifting the focus to enriching the ecosystem. Every app connected to it adds a new chapter to your digital narrative, not just another notification clamoring for a click.

Are you a developer, marketer, or a creator? Lens Protocol can be your playground. And one where innovation isn’t about trapping users in an endless scroll; it’s about freedom, creativity, and genuine engagement.

And here’s what you need to know, straight up, no fluff:

🌿 Ownership is key: Your profile and content are yours, through and through. Think of it as your passport in the Web3 world.

🌿 Take it with you: Jump from one app to another without losing a pixel of your digital persona.

🌿 Power to the community: This is a team effort where every new feature or app adds value for everyone.

🌿 Creators get their due: If you’re making waves, Lens Protocol ensures you’re the one riding the crest, not just providing the surf.

🌿 Co-op mode: Each new addition to the Lens Protocol isn’t competition; it’s collaboration, making the whole network stronger.

Earlier in this edition we talked about the “Social” factor being lost. Well, I see Lens Protocol as a fresh take on what “Social Media” can be.

They are bringing a true idea of ownership and collaboration to the Web3 space.

And if you decide to explore the Lens Protocol, make sure to follow me there.

@donborgo

Shout-out: ModumUp

I recently had the opportunity to discuss – among other things – Web3 and its role as a new frontier for social media in a conversation with Eugenia Duna, titled “Metaverse – New Social Media?”.

So in case you want to hear more about what I think about this, check the video below:

Thank you for having me, Eugenia 🤝 !

Web3 menu:
Social platforms for everyone

Believe it or not, even in the relatively new world of Web3-native social platforms, there are already different options to choose from, each serving up its own flavor of social networking.

From creators owning their content to reshaping how we interact online, these platforms are helping create a whole new movement.

Here are some of the interesting names:

Steemit: Picture a place where your posts and comments could earn you some digital cash. Steemit’s doing just that, turning engagement into rewards with its tokens. It’s like a blend of Reddit and blockchain, where your two cents could be worth a whole lot more.

Lifetoken: Imagine TikTok, but with a twist where creators reward their audience. It’s a fresh take on the creator-viewer relationship, adding a sprinkle of appreciation to every like and comment.

Minds: If you’re into Twitter/X but crave more privacy and freedom, Minds is your go-to spot. It values free speech and rewards users with tokens for their engagement, all powered by a blockchain for added privacy and transparency.

Mastodon: It lets communities set up their own rules while staying connected in a broader network. Imagine a social media archipelago, where each island has its own culture but still chats with the mainland.

These platforms – and many others – are pioneering a shift in how we can socialize online. And for clarity: I have no ties with any of those.

So, if you’re looking to explore the brave new world of Web3-native social platforms, these are just a few spots to start. Each has its unique vibe, and there’s a lot to discover.

Share your passion:
Start your own newsletter

We have talked a lot today about being “Social”, “Talking to your audience”, and “Understanding new spaces”.

When I decided to start The Wild West of Web3 I heard that newsletters were “a thing of the past”.

Well, believe it or not, they are very much alive (otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this interaction, right? 😅).

Of course, as with any other strategy or social channel, it depends on who you want to talk with and what goals you have. In my case, it made sense to start this space.

And why host it on Beehiiv? The platform is sleek and intuitive and lets me focus on what matters most – delivering value to you. Plus, their analytics are perfect for understanding what you dig (or not).

Got a passion? Share it.

I’m here talking about Web3 for thousands of people, but this could be you sharing your knowledge on football. Or vegan recipes. Or DIY tips. Or “how Web3 is bad”. Everybody has something worth sharing. Everybody.

Don’t underestimate the power of your voice.

Real talk: I’m not sponsored by Beehiiv at all. I’m just a regular paying customer who believes in their vision.

Here’s my referral link so you can start sharing your own story today. Yep, joining Beehiiv through this link benefits me, but trust me, I’d recommend them regardless.

And that’s a wrap, folks!

We started this edition asking “Will Web3 change social media?“. Well, after everything we have discussed today, my answer is “It already has”.

See you in edition #20.

#LFGrow
Diego Borgo

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