How the Top Web2 Social Networks are Embracing Web3
Web2 Social Isn't Going Down Without a Fight
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Web3 social networking promises a new paradigm where users truly own their content, profiles, and followers, and can even take this data between different platforms.
That means you could build an audience and content on one platform and simply move them elsewhere if you find a better fit. 🏃♂️
Naturally, this functionality poses some serious competition to the walled gardens and permissioned platforms of Twitter, Facebook, and others.
But they’re not going down without a fight, they want a piece of the web3 action as well. 👊
In this Deep Dive, I’ll be covering what the top web2 social networks have been experimenting with in our beloved web3 sandbox and what else may be coming.
Let’s dive in. 🏊
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Meta has seen some varied success with their web3 experiments, but there’s no doubt that they’re the most committed to embracing the technology.
Not only did the company name change from Facebook to Meta, but they’ve also invested roughly $36 billion in metaverse tech!
After their unsuccessful attempt to create Diem (formally Libra), a digital currency project, Meta has turned their focus to the metaverse and they’re going all in. In fact, they want to evolve into what they call a social VR company.
Their main bet is on their VR headset called Meta Quest (previously Oculus). This headset is an all-in-one VR system that allows users to access games, social experiences, instructor-led workouts, and even workspaces for meetings and collaboration.
In a nutshell, they want to be the point of access to the metaverse which gives me some serious Ready Player One vibes.
Some of the exciting features of the Meta Quest headset include Horizon Home, Horizon Workrooms, and XTADIUM.
Horizon Home allows users to engage with each other within many unique environments, such as a cyberpunk apartment. But in the near future, users will be able to create and customize their own “home” environments.
At home, users can:
- Hang out with friends
- Watch immersive on-demand videos and movies
- Jump into multiplayer games
- Access applications, such as Dropbox and Slack
While Home is for chilling, Workrooms unlock a new level of virtual collaboration for users. It functions as an always-on workspace for meetings, brainstorming, and any collaborative tasks.
Workrooms allow you to turn free space into virtual whiteboards, create sticky notes and images, and even share them outside of the space. And unlike an IRL meeting room, any notes you make stay there until you delete them!
A cool part of Workrooms is that people can also join the room through regular video calls so they can participate even if they don’t own a Meta Quest.
Finally, XTADIUM is Meta’s answer to live VR sports. The app lets users view sports footage in 180-degree 8K virtual reality from eight different camera angles and allows viewers to overlay real-time statistics on the screen.
And in the spirit of the metaverse, you can also watch your sport of choice with friends.
Right now it’s only available in the US, but users will have access to live events, on-demand replays, and highlights from NASCAR, UFC, tennis, and basketball with more to come in the future.
Another cool update for Meta Quest is that users won’t need a Facebook account to use the headset anymore which is a win for data privacy.
Outside of this, Meta has been busy showcasing mixed reality, AR, and VR experiences at Miami Art Week with help from emerging artists.
They’ve also recently launched a web3 accelerator in partnership with L’Oréal and French college HEC Paris.
That’s not all, though. Meta’s web3 efforts have also extended to Instagram.
Which Web2 Social Company Will Have the Biggest Web3 Footprint?
- Meta (includes Instagram and Facebook)
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While Meta is embracing the metaverse, Instagram is all about NFTs. Right now, US users can create and sell NFTs directly through the app with the help of the Polygon blockchain.
The social platform provides users with an end-to-end toolkit that helps create, showcase, and sell NFTs to their audience.
Outside of creation, Instagram allows users to showcase NFTs that live on other blockchains—for example, Ethereum, Flow, and Solana. The platform will also support video-based NFTs.
Will we see Instagram become a full-blown NFT marketplace that rivals OpenSea and Magic Eden?
With over 2B monthly active users, we believe that Instagram could definitely become the largest marketplace for NFTs in the future.
But what we do know is that until 2024, Instagram won’t charge fees for using its services. This is a pretty big deal since marketplaces, such as OpenSea, charge 2.5% on each sale.
In our opinion, this seems like a play to get users hooked on a marketplace with—potentially—a much more user-friendly experience. It’s almost a guarantee that they will have fees in the future, but for now, it’s up to our imagination to guess what their royalty policy will be.
Twitter hasn’t made any serious moves into web3 just yet which could be because of its recent takeover by Elon Musk, but experimentation is happening.
Prior to the takeover, Twitter added a feature where Twitter Blue subscribers (only on iOS) could use a verified NFT as their profile picture by connecting their crypto wallet.
Then, instead of a standard circular PFP, you get one with a hexagonal border—a subtle way to flex your expensive JPEGs.
And just a day after Musk’s takeover, Twitter announced that it’d be testing NFT Tweet Tiles.
With this feature, users can share NFTs they’ve created, are selling, or simply think are cool in their Twitter feeds. The catch is that the NFT needs to be on Rarible, Magic Eden, Dapper Labs, or Jump Trade for the feature to work.
Besides showing a picture of the NFT, Twitter will also display the title of the JPEG and the name of the creator.
Note: This isn’t a live feature just yet and there’s no planned release date as of yet, but as soon as we know, you will too!
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Reddit has made some of the biggest web3 moves so far, with their collectible avatars spawning the creation of over 3 million new crypto wallets. And smack bang in the middle of a bear market we’ve seen total sales volume eclipse $11 million.
The most interesting part about Reddit’s collection is how web2-friendly they made it. They knew that most of their audience either didn’t know how NFTs worked, were against NFTs for whatever reason, or simply didn’t care about them.
So instead of using web3 terminology, they made the drop accessible by using terms, such as collectible avatars (NFTs), vaults (wallets), and coins (tokens).
They also allowed people to buy the collectible avatars using fiat as opposed to crypto and automatically set up crypto wallets for holders.
Reddit pretty much shunned the existing playbook of launchpads that web3 is familiar with and created their own web2-friendly experience.
In an interview with Fortune, Ethan (a Reddit NFT holder) shared, “That’s the thing that I really loved about what Reddit did—the barrier of entry was minimal. You didn’t really have to know anything about blockchain or seed phrases or wallets.”
This is what we call an intentional go-to-market strategy 💪
Overall, Reddit’s collectible avatars have been a huge positive for web3. OpenSea shared that they’ve seen a 75% increase in Polygon users since the drop and that Reddit brought in 3x the users of any other project in the last six months! Additionally, 20% of collectible avatar holders have made another purchase on the platform.
If that’s not enough, Reddit is currently beta-testing Community Points which are essentially custom tokens for individual subreddits.
These tokens represent someone’s reputation within a particular community and will be displayed on their profiles. However, since these points will be on-chain, holders will truly own their reputation.
This allows web3 entrepreneurs to create experiences and products outside of a particular subreddit while still accepting that subreddit’s native token. 🤯
Besides that, some Reddit-native functionality includes:
- Memberships: Subreddit admins can create special memberships which participants can buy with their points to unlock additional platform features.
- Votes: This feature is essentially DAO governance voting which allows each member of the community to have a say in big decisions.
- Tips: Members can also use points to tip others within the community whenever they see fit.
Overall, Reddit’s Community Points are an excellent way to spur and reward high-quality community engagement.
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Web3 Social is Coming, but Who Will Be Leading the Charge?
Out of web2’s social networking companies, the ones I covered above have made the largest strides into web3.
But since it’s still early days we’re yet to see opening moves from big companies like YouTube. However, YouTube’s stance on web3 was revealed earlier this year.
The platform’s Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, shared that YouTube is looking into ways for fans to own videos, art, photos, and experiences from their favorite creators.
We’ve seen some experimentation from TikTok through their creator-led NFT collection which features culturally significant TikTok videos from their top creators. But there’s been no major news since.
On the other hand, companies like Snapchat have even shuttered their entire web3 division. 🪦
But we can’t forget about the web3-native social platforms that are dedicated to this new social paradigm. Lens, Orb, Odyssey, and many other projects are building in the blockchain trenches every day.
It’s safe to say that web3 social networking will be the norm in the next decade, but which platforms will rise to the top is anyone’s guess.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Content creator and crypto connoisseur at Web3 Academy
Find him: Twitter
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Now that you know how web2 social networks are embracing web3, it’s the perfect time to learn Why Web3 Social Will Transcend Its Web2 Counterparts.