Facebook is now Meta.
Instagram is adding NFTs. Twitter is adding avatars verified on the blockchain. So is Reddit.
Is this all a distraction? Or is there an underlying shift to crypto and VR that businesses need to pay closer attention to?
There is a shift happening.
One that is very important to every business. But there’s also a lot of noise. It’s challenging to keep up with it all and know which of these trends have staying power
And it’s only going to get noisier.
Is the metaverse the future of social media?
Social platforms are clearly evolving and competing at a faster pace than we’ve seen before. Meta sees the writing on the wall. They know they can’t fight off every other social platform forever. So they’re making a giant bet on what comes next.
This does not mean that consumer behavior is going to switch away from legacy social platforms anytime soon.
Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are all still very relevant as primary social channels. While Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, and others increasingly grow in prominence as strong marketing channel.
Whatever the internet evolves into over the next 5-10 years, these social platforms will still be the primary social layers consumers and businesses rely on.
Will a new social platform arise, built on the blockchain or built completely in VR? One of those will happen if not both. But I give it a 50% shot of happening in the next 2-3 years.
What’s more important is for you to understand a few core concepts of what’s coming next. And how it impacts you.
What is the metaverse and why does it matter?
The metaverse is simply a virtual world. An online space that people choose to spend time in other than the physical world. There’s some debate on whether that virtual world needs to be experienced through a VR headset or not. And even Facebook will tell you that VR technology is not completely there yet.
The bottom line is virtual worlds are being engineered for us to spend more time in. Over 160 companies are working in this space today. It’s very similar to what we saw 15 years ago, when social networks like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter were being built to take up more of our time online.
Should your business be investing in the metaverse today? No. The technology simply isn’t there yet.
If you want to build a storefront in Decentraland’s metaverse as a PR stunt, go for it. Just don’t expect it to be a longterm consumer engagement opportunity today.
If you have the resources and are passionate about the metaverse then you should be testing these technologies, learning what they’re good at and what they’re not.
However, virtual worlds are only one piece of how the internet is changing today. And it’s likely the one that will take the longest for us to see come to fruition.
What is web3 and why does it matter?
Web3 is a a decentralized version of the internet built on the blockchain. It’s crypto, NFTs, DeFi, tokens, and more. And for some ultimately becomes a metaverse, or virtual world, built on crypto fundamentals.
There are 2 core concepts important to web3 that aren’t going away anytime soon. Let’s break them down and how they might impact your business or support your marketing in the near future.
Wikipedia is decentralized in large part. So is WordPress. No one person makes the decision for how these resources are built. They’re done collectively with little to no gatekeepers.
Decentralized communities can move quickly. They can empower large groups around a cause. They are difficult to compete against. And they can react instantly to challenges.
On the blockchain there is no centralized power broker. Because ownership is distributed to the users. In some instances ownership may be earned through contributions, bounties, or quests. Or ownership can be purchased through buying an NFT or trading for a social tokens.
The specifics are less important than the effects. A community of owners will always beat out a community with no value exchange on the line. It’s the reason why NFT communities can grow so large so quickly. There is an intrinsic motivation when the community shares in the upside.
What to do about web3 as a business?
These underlying concepts are the most important pieces for you to understand about what comes next. They are massive marketing opportunities. They are empowering a new wave of ownership based communities.
Entire organizations and companies are being reinvented as DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), formalized versions of decentralized orgs that are owned and governed by their members for a shared purpose.
Your business may be competing directly with a DAO soon.
Or a competitor that launches a token for their top customers.
Or a competitor that runs a contest for the chance to own a famous NFT worth $50k or more.
We’re in a test phase right now. If you want to know more, you need to get your hands dirty and experiment. Look to brands like Time, Playboy, Nike, Adidas.
Get personally involved in an NFT Discord community or DAO that is relevant to you.
Launch a token or NFT. Reward your audience. See what happens.
Start testing today, because these technologies are built on foundational elements of the web that are not going away anytime soon.
We’ll be talking about the future of social media, web3 and otherwise, at our next conference, Social Fresh 2022, live and in-person in Charlotte, NC this June 21-23.