Remember the days of Myspace, when you could completely customize your profile with HTML and CSS? It was a time when users could express their personality and individuality through the wild color palettes, moving GIFs, and custom cursors that adorned their profiles. Your Myspace page was even more of an expression of yourself than the content you added to it.
For many of us, creating our Myspace profile was like creating a digital scrapbook, a way to showcase our interests, our taste in music, and our friendships. It was a time before Facebook’s algorithmically curated feed, when the order of our friends in the sidebar was directly related to their social status. Everything was intentional and personal, if not messy at times.
The Myspace era of social networking may have been short-lived, but it was a formative time for many of us coming of age in the early days of the Internet. It was a time when the web was still new and unexplored, and each of us had the chance to take our own corner of it and make it our own.
The modern crypto wallet (such as Metamask) has the potential to be a powerful tool for personal identification and self-expression, much like Myspace’s customizable profiles did in the early days of social networking. Just as we used to build our Myspace profiles with music tastes, hobbies and interests, the clutter of a crypto wallet can be a treasure trove of digital assets and tokens that reflect our history, our affiliations and our identity.
However, one of the challenges with crypto wallets is that they have an anonymous status by default, making it difficult for others to discover and contact us based on the contents of our wallet. They’re not content uploaded to a social network, but islands of “self”: something closer to a person who knows what they like but has no way to share or connect with others. Time capsules buried in the sand and forgotten, no labels inside to tell us who put them together.
For crypto wallets to truly become the “myspace profiles” of the modern era, there needs to be a way to make them more discoverable and personal. This may involve finding ways to link our crypto wallets to our online identities, or creating ways to showcase the contents of our wallets in a more visible and expressive way. Twitter’s integration that allows NFTs (Non-fungible tokens, a form of blockchain digital collectible) to be used as profile pictures is a weak benchmark. It makes it possible to show one digital item that someone owns, but does not use the network capabilities.
Imagine if you instead connected your crypto wallet to Twitter and it showed more frequent tweets from people who own NFTs from similar collections, changing the background of your profile to something akin to a piece of luggage covered in stickers? Imagine it makes your profile more you.
One of the challenges of building connections and communities within the web3 ecosystem is the lack of tools such as hashtags and “liking” content commonly used on social media platforms. These tools allow users to discover and connect with others based on shared interests, even if they have not met in person. In the past, many NFT projects have relied on Discord groups to advertise and build communities leading up to launch. However, these interactions are often purely market-driven, with individuals motivated by the promise of “winning” with a new technology rather than forming real relationships based on common interests.
To evolve into a platform for identity and self-expression, web3 and NFTs must move beyond speculation and serve the purpose of capturing and verifying people’s interests and actions. This can help people who might not otherwise connect and form real relationships based on shared passions and hobbies. By leveraging the power of NFTs and tokens to enable these deeper connections, the web3 ecosystem can move beyond market-driven interactions and become a true platform for identity and community.
The web3 ecosystem has the potential to provide individuals with new and innovative ways to display and celebrate their digital identity and personal expressions. By finding ways to make crypto wallets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) more discoverable and personal, individuals can connect with others who share their interests and form meaningful relationships. While the current social networking aesthetic leans toward minimalism, there is potential for the development of new tools and features that add personality and individuality to the service through web3 identities.
Web3 can be used to celebrate and express our digital selves.
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