Web 3.0 dawns
a hucksters paradise
In my earlier posts on media, I touched on the decentralization of sources of information and how people would start to rely on their networks for data rather than central sources. As I’ve pointed out, this hasn’t gotten around a control system employed by large tech companies to decide who can remain and what can be said on their platforms, amplifying what they deem to be truthful and squelching the rest.
Like many local clubs who rebrand after a shooting or a stabbing takes place, Sometimes large companies have the need to do an image overhaul. Facebook recently announced the name Meta to combine its large swath of internet communication and social media real estate into one.
As a company when you combine Messenger, What’s App, and Instagram you’re looking at a combined 3+ billion users.
FB moved into the VR space early and aggressively by buying Oculus (a move that was a net demotivator for my early Podrift team), and now many years later have made it clear they have their sight set on a creating a “Ready Player One” type “Metaverse”.
More like “Metadata” amirite? I don’t think Facebook ‘s toxic brand will ever be able to truly reinvent itself. The old centralized models, particularly in the mediums of social media have finally run their course. We’re aware we’re being “gamed” and our information is being used and profited on. There just hasn’t been a replacement with enough ‘network effect’ to grow into a real competitor…yet.
To really compete with the book of faces, you need to bring people in from both sides of the aisle, all previous attempts to start social networks with free and open policies have resulted in an overly right wing bias (Parler and Gab) so as to become just another echo chamber.
Potentially, Telegram is one of the new success stories of messaging services, run by 37 year old Russian born French citizen Pavel Durov. Yet it’s anything but a household name, and can’t really do what Facebook and its suite of software can.
All that said, the reason for the rebrand is that Facebook see’s the writing on the wall. Web 3.0 is coming and “Meta” doesn’t want to be left behind. It’s just that everything FB touches gets Zuckerberg stink on it. Like it’s earlier failed cryptocurrency “Libra” , and now its attempt at becoming the first name in Metaverseses or Metaversi. It’s doomed to fail.
The real Metaverse is of course the entirety of the internet, it is all of our digital connections to one another and how we move through it and relate to it with our own preferred interfaces, and sense of identification. This tracks with where we’re going because information controlled by you is the essence of Web 3.0.
Nothing about FB 2.0/Meta sounds decentralized, there is no ledger creating immutable record keeping for all network contributors to view transparently, or independent operators functioning as node validators.
As before, information will be profited on, censored, paywalled, and moved around as needed. This is a predictable move from a company who’s founder put almost half a billion dollars in donations together for the last major election. To say there isn’t a strong agenda with potential for bias here would be a few hundred million dollars short of common cents.
The real question is, who are these fact checkers and judges of information, and why should we trust them? What are their biases? The technology crowd, especially coming out of contemporary university programs are typically of a very left leaning ideology, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just doesn’t leave us with a ton of diversity of thought in technology. Ironically, you no longer see a lot of “think different” happening in the place where the term was coined.
I learned a lot about bias in my time working with EQ labs. I’m acutely aware we all have them as private individuals, but placing my trust in someone Mark Zuckerberg and team hire to reassure me does the complete opposite. I don’t think I’m unique in that opinion, therein lies the need for change of course.
Eject the Core
We have new blockchains and cryptocurrencies built on them that are going mainstream every week. Only heard of one Dog themed meme coin? There’s also Shiba Inu, and the Samoyed coin now. Bitcoin alone, the dam buster of cryptocurrency only took a decade to be worth 1/10 of the circulating supply of USD, which amounts to about 1.5Trillion dollars in real value. This changes daily, but when you add up all the digital currencies, they are increasingly showing strength as a parallel economic system that centralized banks have no control over.
We now have digital assets moving up in worth to soon outpace traditional physical assets. What does this all mean? For someone like me who can’t resist the call of the frontier and the inception of the next layer of the internet, it means I had to get involved with building a company called the DAAM Agency with a mission to bridge the physical with the digital. For the unknowing masses though, it means a revolution is here.
We can spread authority out amongst ourselves rather then rely on one central source to tell us whats what.
Which sounds better to you: 1 all knowing computer server deciding what everyones bank balance is, or 100’s of millions if not billions of computers all in accordance every time a transaction happens that every network participant’s money and assets are where they belong?
It’s an oversimplification but not too far off the mark.
Technologies that eliminate trust as a factor and “Decentralize” authority are the future of decision making, commerce, and even more touchy subjects like politics. By offloading trust to these networks, more shit can get done, more efficiently. Smart contracts will enter negotiation with other digital agent smart contracts to do business with one another. This has major implications that I haven’t fully wrapped my head around, but I get the sense that it will solve things like the current supply chain crisis before another one starts.
DAO’s are another formalizing term for this new web 3.0 model. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations are groups and businesses that function without a traditional hierarchy and use computer driven rules as a form of governance . We will see more organizations spring up and operate with these frameworks, especially in the non profit and cooperative spaces
We are leaving the era of centralized authority and so with it must we leave behind the central narrative. We’re all playing part in the next evolution of the hero’s journey as Jeff Gomez the godfather of transmedia describes, we’re onto the collaborative journey now. All of our individual experiences combine narratives that when pieced together from different angles form part of a much greater story.
Keep this in mind the next time you formulate a marketing strategy or hope to entice someone to buy your product or even join your private metaverse. More than that, make sure you are aware of and using the tools of the time.
People will adapt quickly to a sense of ownership of their data and joy in the curation of it.
In an almost funny way the web started out more like this and became consolidated over time. How many people leave their Facebook or Instagram app for long enough to discover something wholly new? I’m old enough to remember when finding a new website and creating a bookmark felt like an accomplishment and something I would look forward to visiting again to check for updates. In a world of “feeds”, it’s time to take the wheel back from the algorithms and central authorities, before they drive us off the cliff.
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