THE EVOLUTION OF INTERNET COMMUNITIES
Let's take a stroll down the memory lane. Turns out communities are neither a new nor unique concept to the internet.
1990-2005 (web 1.0)
At the dawn of the web, we witnessed the emergence of MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) and the play communities that quickly formed around them. Through self-created digital characters or "avatars", people interacted not only with the games but also with other players. At the time, people might not have had an official list of friends or followers, but certainly developed a set of ambient friendships with folks they met through games.
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, an MMOG developed by Cyan Worlds, became an iconic example. When the game closed down in 2004, it left 10,000 players as "refugees" who migrated to other games, taking the Uru culture with them and actively engaging in community-building activities everywhere they went. These Uru people, or Uruvians, set an early example for how a game can coalesce a community beyond the boundaries of the play into the real world.
2005-2020 (web 2.0)
In the 2000s, we were introduced to various popular blogs, instant messaging servers, and social networking platforms. Early platforms like Yahoo! or Myspace established the framework for how we build our social circles. Facebook and Reddit then allow us to discover and connect with communities across the world at the click of a button. Before Twitter, the ability to interact directly with celebrities was almost unheard of. These social platforms tap into our tribal needs by efficiently facilitating social interactions and the exchange of content.
Unfortunately, wherever there is a large mass of people with shared interests, it also becomes the destination for people with malicious intent - the same way that water holes in the wild would always attract predators. It is getting increasingly hard to find quality conversations on social media these days, as the integrity of community engagement is constantly interfered with by scammers on a daily basis. According to the 2019 Current State of Cybercrime, the rate of social media fraud attacks has increased by more than 43% from 2018 to 2019, and cybercriminals are constantly discovering new ways to exploit social media users. Sadly it's almost impossible to track down many of these bad actors since their identity is not verified when creating an account.
Social media has also become a mask for people to hide behind the screen and publish their demeaning opinions. For instance, the most vicious dunks on Twitter take the form of quote-tweets. It's not rare to see influential people overuse their community power to bully someone simply by quoting the tweet and beaming the anger straight into followers' feed.
Today's platforms seem to have prioritized extreme engagements, rather than quality ones.
2020 onwards (web3)
“If social media can feel like a crowded airport terminal where everyone is allowed, but no one feels particularly excited to be there, digital campfires offer a more intimate oasis where smaller groups of people are excited to gather around shared interests.”
- Sara Wilson -
Just as the centralized system (web 2.0) of social media reaches its tipping point, web3 comes like the light at the end of this dark tunnel. While web2 was a frontend revolution, the third web iteration is a backend revolution.
With blockchain & cryptocurrencies running through its veins, web3 is bringing back the decentralized, community-governed ethos of web1. And just as fashion comes back with a few modern elements, web3 is the better internet with an unprecedented level of security & authentication. Gone are scammers. Gone are irresponsible behavior online. Finally, we have found our “intimate oasis", our “digital campfires”.
The explosion of crypto into the mainstream brings with it vibrant communities that gather around NFT projects (pause here if you want to prime yourself up with some NFT basics). Here are the main types of communities that we see robustly taking shape:
- PFP (Avatar): Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cool Cats, Pudgy Penguin, etc.
- Gaming: Axie Infinity, Loot Project, etc.
- Art: Beeple, World of Women, etc.
- Collectibles: CryptoPunks, CryptoKitties, NBA Top Shot, etc.
Web3 is the internet owned by the builders and users, orchestrated with tokens.
- @packyM -
As a group of geeks who breathe and live in web3, we have been keeping a close eye on these communities. Our observations can be distilled into three main points:
- Communities are cultures & lifestyle
- Communities provide support & solidarity
- Communities are micro-economies
We believe these new-gen communities will be the backbone of the new internet. We’ll explain further in Part 2, with concrete examples & insights from prominent PFP projects.
SPKZ.io is the first web3 community platform protocol. On SPKZ, you have a safe place to chat with other verified holders, knowing they have skin in the game. You can also communicate directly with token issuers and enjoy exclusive community perks. As a DAO, SPKZ allows communities to own the protocol and be aligned around our token and its economy.