Web3 Social Landscape

So what exactly is web3 social? It’s a new open model for social that is user-centric, not platform-centric.

By Thomas Scaria and Natasha Khimji - Feb 3, 2022

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By: Thomas Scaria and Natasha Khimji

As web3 has entered the mainstream consciousness, an entirely new category has emerged: web3 social.

Humans are tribal creatures. The desire to connect with each other and belong to communities is in our DNA. Web3 social fills the same human void as web2 social -- connection. 

So what exactly is web3 social? It's a new open model for social that is user-centric, not platform-centric. 

In web3 social, users own their identity, data, and the content they create for apps and protocols. Web3 social is a springboard into the world of DAOs (Distributed Autonomous Organizations), platformless social networks. Finally, it's a new era for social media where users own the networks and protocols and create positive externalities for non-users.

Web3 social products leverage value propositions native to web3 such as user-ownership to empower users while leveraging familiar web2 social models to create a recognizable user experience. 

Leveraging Open Data

Humans are aggregating identity in their wallets. Wallets hold social club memberships, NFTs that reflect their personality, and cultural moments they've participated in. 

This trail of data travels with users and is also publicly available. App developers harness this data to build social graphs and reputation systems that form the connective tissue of web3 social apps.

Social graph: a map of connections between users

  • Web2: users give up ownership of their data to centralized networks
  • Web3: users travel with their data, and social platforms access on-chain data to connect users

Reputation systems: how platforms and networks allocate attention

  • Web2: gaining "Followers'' and "Likes" is a feedback loop that incentivizes content producers to keep contributing to networks.
  • Web3: social networks build reputation systems that interpret open data based on social media likes/comments, investing patterns, and/or participation in the governance of protocols

While the connective tissue for web3 apps is (currently) centralized, many apps are committed to allowing users to own the value they create. Users mint their profiles, reputation, and social graphs on-chain to be then used by other networks or DAOs.

Collective Ownership

DAOs are platformless social networks. They allow members to coordinate capital and resources to accomplish a mission. Two DAO use cases have emerged that emphasize socialization: Social DAOs and Investment DAOs.

  • Social DAOs: Users form communities over shared sets of values and interests. Social DAOs give the community the ability to coordinate towards a mission, program roles, and incentivize contributors. One use case could be a Creator-fan club that co-creates content and grows brand value together. 
  • Investment DAOs: Users truly own their assets in web3. DAOs allow groups of friends/strangers to own anything. Through investment and hence shared ownership, users play an active role in the growth of the products & communities they have a stake in. Communities coordinate group action, and communities emerge from group action.

Breaking down the web3 social landscape

The web3 Social Landscape

The web3 Social Landscape

Apps: interfaces, social experiences

At Metalink, users connect in verified gated chats, check floor prices, and (soon) trade NFTs all in one place. Metalink is combining various web3, social, chat and NFT-related features into one app.

Using Context, users see what's happening on web3. They follow friend's wallets to see what they are minting & buying, curate NFTs in order to share their aesthetic, and help their favorite creators reach more people.

Showtime is building an open social graph with NFTs. They help collectors showcase NFTs and discover rising Creators. Ultimately, every piece of content will be an NFT and Showtime aims to be the primary social media interface for it.

Prysm helps investors connect, squad up and invest together. They stitch together a familiar web2 social experience with the easiest way to start, manage and flex an NFT InvestmentDAO.

The .eth Leaderboard displays the top 200 followed users on Twitter who also have ENS names. This allows people who are active in web3 communities as well as those who are just starting out to understand the leaders shaping the evolution of the industry.

Eth.xyz is the universal shortlink for your web3 username, available for all .eth names. On Eth.xyz, you view the public ENS profile & NFT collection for any .eth name on a secure .xyz URL. 

Islands.xyz is building your passport to the metaverse. They help creators build their own NFT communities, thereby empowering communities of varying sizes to manage digital assets and pay projects & people globally.

PartyBid enables users to pool capital and bid on an NFT. They focus on a core principle of allowing internet strangers access to expensive assets while experimenting with different formats to make parties successful such as token gating, creator fees, and private parties. 

Another example is Koop, a platform allowing users to collectively own NFTs and projects, as well as generate a social reputation by becoming an investor, contributor, and/or collaborator. 

Myco helps communities grow into thriving ecosystems using novel social spaces and powerful ownership rewards. They are helping a new generation of social clubs launch themselves with a foundation for long-term sustainability.

Mirror's crowdfunding capabilities allow for capital to form and back an ambitious mission early. Examples of successful Mirror crowdfunds that have initiated new projects and new collective ownership incentives include BLVKHVND, KrauseHouse, and even PartyDAO.

Protocols: protocols, smart contract building blocks that be used by anyone/any DAO

CyberConnect is a decentralized social graph protocol built with IPFS and Ceramic. It creates a data standard, storage infrastructure, and recommendation indexing system for social connections, providing a universal data layer for the next generation of dApps to create their own context-specific social functions.

Mem is building tools for the social layer of web3. On Mem, users own their friend graphs, explore the blockchain & earn by sharing knowledge.

Syndicate DAO is transforming how the world creates value by democratizing investing through an investing protocol & social network. Their first product allows anyone to start an investment club on Ethereum at extremely low costs, bootstrapping Investment DAOs.

Gnosis Safe is the leading tool to collectively manage digital assets on Ethereum. It's a smart contract wallet that supports ETH, ERC20 (tokens) & ERC721 (collectibles, such as NFTs).

Juicebox is a community fundraising tool. It allows you to fund your project while giving ownership to your community by minting an NFT, and is combined with a primitive-like Gnosis to unlock mass capital formation and coordination. This combination was behind prolific cultural moments such as ConstitutionDAO

Public Goods: decentralized schema, storage, userowned identity

One of the building blocks of web3 social is ENS (Ethereum Name Service) -- a user's web3 username. It's the most widely integrated blockchain naming standard. It's hard to connect with a 0x address so ENS humanizes wallets and is the crux of web3 social.

Ceramic is a decentralized, permissionless data streaming network. Users store streams of information, as well as files, onto the decentralized web. 

IDX is a new decentralized identity standard for connecting your digital identity, built on Ceramic. By giving users control over data discovery, sharing and permissions, IDX is helping to realize the vision of a user-centric web.

Ecosystem Growth

Other projects are catalyzing the growth of the broader web3 social network.

Seed Club is an incubator for web3 communities and DAOs. They provide mentorship, thought leadership, and programming to help communities bring the future value of their collaboration, creativity and connection into the present and turn their social capital into digital assets. 

Forefront is a social token community with the sole purpose to help tokenized communities thrive, and to ultimately be the leading platform for insight and development across the social token community.

Thank you to Mark Beylin, Jake Udell, Jihad Esmail and Nicole d'Avis for their edits and feedback.

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