It seems that the non-technical word we hear most often in Web3 is ‘’community.’’ Unlike other words, it is not a buzzword that is just thrown around. We could argue that we do not talk about it enough. A Web3 project basically cannot survive without a strong community. It is the heart of your project, and it will make or break it.(R)evolution of communities
Communities have been around since we were hunter-gatherers, and they are the reason we as humans have been able to achieve some extraordinary things (bad and good). It’s the ability to organize groups of people around an idea, a higher thing that should exceed every member. It’s in our nature to belong.
The way communities are formed has changed many times throughout history, but some elements that all successful communities have in common have remained the same, regardless of the type of community or medium: shared purpose, feeling of belonging, and a personal connection.
As communities emerged on the Internet rather than IRL, these elements remained the same and are maintained by the most successful online communities. As people evolve, the way communities are organized and how participation in communities is managed must also evolve. Participation in communities changed enormously with the advent of the Internet, as one could suddenly be part of a community that wasn’t limited to local (physical) space.
Online communities first emerged on forums and chat rooms (like AOL and MSN). This was the so-called Web1 era (read only) of the Internet, where users were limited with their abilities to create meaningful interactions. Later, we came to the next stage of the Internet, Web2 (read + create), where platforms like Google and Facebook emerged. This era essentially gave people the ability to not only read content online, but also create it themselves.
People could create their own content and their own communities, but only on the terms of the platform (centralized company). The content, and more importantly the community you built by creating content and launching your products, didn’t belong to you. They belonged to the platform. This is where Web3 comes in.
The decentralized internet
The term Web3 was coined in 2014 by Gavin Wood, and the first definition was “decentralized online ecosystem based on blockchain.” Driven by blockchain technology and smart contracts, we are entering the era of read + create + own.
On the product side, the change is happening because suddenly you are not building a product (MVP) alone in a garage and hidden from its potential users. In Web3, you build in public, with the users, for the users. This is where the shift from “product first, community later’’, to ‘’community first, product later’’ comes in.
This way, we can gather the community first, identify their challenges, and then build a product with them and for them. The community will actually use your product and give you constant feedback on it. This is a revolution in the way we bring people together and develop products that essentially serve the community.
So how can we step forward and allow the community to build together? By organizing ourselves as a DAO. This puts community participation on-chain and allows community members to submit and vote on proposals to move the project forward. This is accomplished through the use of a DAO governance token. DAOs also allow for financial compensation for contributors who invest their time in the project.
Ownership + financial compensation is something we’ve not been able to effectively implement in communities in web2, but the right tools are now available to us to start organizing communities in a better way.
It has everything to do with people
This is essentially not about the technology and the tools that we use. The tools are, well, just tools. Web3 community managers should focus primarily on WHO and WHAT. Once you understand that, the technology and tools come into play (and we at Qvrse can help you with that). Like Seth Godin wrote in Tribes: ‘’The real power of tribes has nothing to do with internet and everything to do with people.’’
It’s all about giving your community members more of what they deserve. And if they invest their time in and for your community, they should be rewarded for it. They should have the opportunity to help steer the ship of the community and not just be a regular passenger. This is the point where we as Web3 community managers can fundamentally make the world a better place, community by community.