✖️ Should communities be free?
And: Patreon Creator Census; A paper-thin loudspeaker; Vinyl & NFTs - trend of format?; 90-9-1 rule of participation; What do fans really want?
The blockchain financializes everything, from human interactions to every other transaction. This stems from the origins of decentralized finance which underpin Bitcoin and most other blockchains. And since the Web3 often relies on that blockchain technology everything that happens in the Web3 also often gets financialized. Ask yourself why you buy an NFT and there’s an element of speculation that pops into your head. However, I want to argue that while blockchain equals financialization, the Web3 doesn’t have to. Instead, we should frame the Web3 as a reshaping of community.
Think about what Bas just wrote this week. In his piece on his experiences building a community DAO with ColorsxStudios he rightfully pointed out that:
“The web3 paradigm for building communities is to create room for emergence.”
At its heart, a Web3 community is about the fundamentals of cooperation between humans. The types of communities that thrive in the Web3 simply couldn’t find ways to make their community work on Web2 rails. This is also why the single most important question when starting a Web3 project is: Why Web3? Is it really necessary to start learning new tools and tech and then also bring in a community and teach them to use those same tools. That is, to put it mildly, labor intensive. But if you’re looking to experiment in what your community can bring you and your art and what you can bring to them, then Web3 rails are the way forward. With ownership and governance baked into those rails, it becomes easier to create a self-governing and cooperative community.
When you tokenize a community, however, it often concerns a liquid token. Take Friends with Benefits, which communes and governs through $FWB. The cool people who got in when $FWB was cheap and made FWB cool have always owned their memberships and can profit from selling it and thus profit from their work in making the community cool. That’s great, but why is it necessary to purchase a token to gain entry to a community. If you want to token-gate access to your community you can do so via NFTs just as easily and perhaps with more specificity too.
So what does a non-liquid token bring? It allows you to reward participation and can offer a way to decentralize governance, or decision-making. And let’s make it clear that you don’t have to start, or launch, your community with this token. You can release NFTs and start building a community from there and begin to reward participation and general helpfulness. To make a success out of a tokenized community that incentivizes presence and cooperation you first need a community. It doesn’t have to be a big community, but you need at least a few people to create meaningful interactions. Once you have that a social token can become a tool for participation and a layer of identification within the community.
The main difference, and the take-away I have for you today, is that any community that’s built in the Web3 and which utilizes the financialization of the blockchain is inherently a community of consumers. That, immediately, makes it impossible to create a community that is free to access, at least from a monetary perspective. And since the most interesting parts of the Web3 happen after the financial transaction - when we start to reshape community - why not cut that part out when it pertains to that community? You hear the phrase ‘the community if the utility’ so often, that it’s time to focus on building communities based on presence, cooperation, and participation.
1️ The 90-9-1 Rule for Participation Inequality in Social Media and Online Communities (Jakob Nielsen)
The article is from 2006, but still very pertinent. Shout out to Anna Grigoryan for pointing me to it from her newsletter. Basically, if you think about community building, you should take this rule into consideration.
🌆 What do fans really want? (Part I) (Prarthana Sen)
“So, we flipped our approach and matched creator tools (with some applicability to music) into a framework to understand what value they potentially create for fans (as opposed to the creator). There seem to be broadly 5 types of fans (which loosely map to the 1,000 true fans chart that opened this post), and they all place value on different types of content from artists/musicians:”
🌡️ The first-ever Patreon Creator Census (Patreon)
“80% of you work alone, 11% of you are part of a team, and 8% work solo, but partner with a team of non-creators. Podcasters are most likely to work in teams (39%), while visual artists are most likely to work as a team of one (94%).”
🔈 Researchers develop a paper-thin loudspeaker (Adam Zewe)
“This thin-film loudspeaker produces sound with minimal distortion while using a fraction of the energy required by a traditional loudspeaker. The hand-sized loudspeaker the team demonstrated, which weighs about as much as a dime, can generate high-quality sound no matter what surface the film is bonded to.”
🔮 Vinyl And NFTs: A Trend Or A Future Format? (Janelle Borg)
“While the idea works on paper, one must question whether there is much overlap between the NFT and vinyl collectors communities. First of all, for the idea to work in the long term, both vinyl and NFTs must stick around. Vinyl has proved its staying power, but since NFT technology is still nascent, it will undoubtedly change in the years ahead.”
Pitch-Hiker is the proto hardcore track. It defined an entire scene, across Europe but also Gabber in the Netherlands and into France with their sparse tekno sound. The track is from 1995 but these are the first official remixes and they're all killer. Marc Acardipane's own makes it a party track, Perc's is dark but my favourite is the Ghost in the Machine remix. Check them out if you're into the more uncompromising sonic spectrum of the dance floor.