18 years ago, I started a blog.
More as an experiment than anything else. An exercise to understand a paradigm shift that was clearly in its early stages from what we now refer to as Web 1.0, a World Wide Web dominated by companies and mainstream media (in which consumers engaged with web pages largely in a read-only mode), to the social Web 2.0.
Starting with blogs in the early 2000s, and the social networks circa 2007 when Twitter launched and Facebook opened up to the public, the Web shifted to a community model. Commenting, sharing, liking. Consumers actively engage with content, and their contributions shape the conversation as much as the original.
As a marketer, I was fascinated by this shift in the media model, and used my blog and social channels to explore it as both participant and observer. I blogged pretty regularly for about 6 years and then sporadically thereafter. In part because I had less time but also because the paradigm stabilized. We’ve been actively in what many call the Creator Economy for the past 8-10 years.
The defining elements of the Creator Economy
- The shift of content creation from mainstream media as the dominant paradigm to a democratized media landscape where both MSM and content creators are credible sources of information.
- The accompanying change in “influence” No longer restricted to celebrity spokespersons and mainstream editors and pundits. Consumers began to use their voice to impact the marketplace – of products and of ideas. These gave rise to influencer marketing, and the expansion of branded content (FKA advertorial) as a business model to include influencer endorsement. Authentic consumer endorsement of products and services they use and love, not cookie-cutter broadcasting of marketing message points.
- Innovations in monetization that allowed independent content creators to reap the benefits of their work — ad networks, influencer marketing agencies and platforms that connect brands with creators, sponsorship communities like Patreon etc. This led (inevitably) to the rise of the personal brand, and (more interestingly) a rich content landscape that offers a more level playing field for creators to find their niche.
It wasn’t that there wasn’t interesting stuff happening in the marketplace. It just wasn’t revolutionary, so I focused on the work. And more or less stopped writing on the blog. We are now on the verge of the next paradigm shift, from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 and the Metaverse. I can’t think of a better place to work this out for myself than back here on my blog.
So what exactly are Web 3.0 and the metaverse? Apart from constantly evolving.
Web 3.0 refers to a number of technologies and web developments that collectively shift the paradigm from centralized platforms to decentralized, distributed computing (powered by blockchain technology) and interoperability. Cryptocurrency is an example of blockchain use, but there are other applications such as contracts, games and copyright management. Interoperability means that information can be easily shared/accessed across smart applications. Other technologies that are considered part of Web 3.0 – Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality. The end game (and we are quite a ways off) is ubiquity. Everything is interconnected and interoperable.
The metaverse is a construct that represents the result of all these technologies coming together to create an interoperable, interconnected virtual 3D world that reflects the “real” world while eliminating/reducing barriers. In the metaverse, you can attend a concert in Berlin while sitting in NY. Not just watch a live stream – be there, sitting “next” to your friend who is in Berlin. And you both can buy NFT limited edition concert t-shirts, with or without a real world element.
Exciting stuff. Some things more than others, but lots of stuff to explore. In my next post, I’ll dig into where we are today.
Resource: Nice roundup of tools and technologies that support the Creator Economy by venture firm SignalFire.