The Hardships of Community Building
meadoe
0xa8B2
Gilbert
0x1360
May 23rd, 2022

In our first post, we talked about what makes web3 different, to recap:

  1. Web3 communities are vastly different than web2 communities. Subscribers are now stakeholders, and this brings new utility.
  2. There is no single utility that draws the masses. Investors are as diverse as the projects they support and there are many. The single thread is building a strong community to push the value.
  3. Building these communities is difficult. It’s now more important than ever to curate a strong community to stand by your project.

The hardships of building a community in Web3

We’ve spend the past few weeks talking to community managers across web3 to try and uncover what exactly makes community building so difficult. We’ve began to uncover some common themes, and we’ve found two major roadblocks that every new community faces.

Onboarding

Onboarding is always difficult whether it’s a new job, a new product, even a new social group, ramping up to get people properly engaged and excited is so difficult. Now layer on the chaos of discord, with thousands of strangers, and tons of channels where do you even begin?

Builders ask: “How can I ensure new members know where to go or what to do?”
Members say: “I don’t know who to talk to, I’m overwhelmed” 
Everyone agrees: “Discord is a mess”.

From FWB's 2022 Product Roadmap
From FWB's 2022 Product Roadmap

It’s no secret that onboarding into a discord community can be next to impossible. For the first twenty or so members, your hand may be held through the steps, but as a community starts to scale, these processes break down.

Discord is great for many reasons, primarily it’s cheap. But it also comes with great mod tools, flexible permissions, and a decent community of bot builders. Though, what communities gain in ease and cost, they sacrifice dearly in new user experience. The members suffer from information overload. Products can ease users in with walkthroughs and tutorials, discord provides no such functionality, it is just everything, all at once.

In a land of information overload, cluttered with largely anonymous users, with nothing in their profiles, actually meeting people can be difficult... which is the lifeblood of a community.

Forming Connections

When you first join a new group, what’s the best way to get involved? Why do you decide to stick around? Sure the potential of making money could be cool, but that high only lasts for a short time. The most successful communities have mods working round the clock to help new members make the transition from ‘stranger’ to a genuine member.

Many times this takes shape by having users introduce themselves. Unfortunately, very few members bother to read through everyone else’s intros. Instead, community managers take it upon themselves to manually loop users together - sometime based on interests or timezones. At their best, the first hundred people experience feeling connected. But as the community grows quickly, the community manager becomes overwhelmed and this approach falls apart.

Introducing Frens Bot

This is where the Frens Bot comes in. Instead of a top down, community manager driven approach to helping new members feel connected, we developed a Discord bot that automatically introduces members in a Discord community to each other. Here’s how it works

  1. Users call /makefrens in a dedicated channel in their Discord community.
  2. They're directed to a web app where they can login with Discord and connect their wallet.
  3. Back in Discord, users are introduced to a "crew" - 2 other members in the same Discord server who share similarities with them.
  4. Each “crew” has a thread in which they’re greeted with a web3 icebreaker!
Our MVP of Frensbot in action 🎉
Our MVP of Frensbot in action 🎉

Notice how everyone has a profile: here’s mine. After talking to loads of web3 members, we’ve formed the opinion that the basis of a good connection stems from some underlying commonality. At 0xFrens, we believe wallets will be essential to a user’s identity. As such, we generate profiles based on users’ wallets so they can connect over common POAPs and NFTs. To help make matches even more interesting, we’ve also added in discord data so you can find other frens from similar communities! Our goal? To make web3 a tighter-knit, more human place.

But… we’re still learning!

To date, we’ve launched Frensbot to several Discord communities, including Global Coin Research, Player 2, and Yumon Hub. All and all, community leads were excited about the potential, but the experience fell a little short.

We kept an eye on how users were interacting with our bot, and while some conversations were sparked, overall the threads didn’t feel very engaging, and the lack of timely responses meant the conversations often died quickly. It seemed that a simple icebreaker simply wasn’t enough.

Going forward

We contacted many users that participated in our early launch, and interestingly, a large portion of them mentioned that they preferred to form deeper connections and wanted to jump on actual calls with members in the community. For many, these face-to-face connections are far more valuable; given that the person on the other end is also highly engaged and excited to chat.

This and other feedback led us to rethink how our service should work. Perhaps there are ways to help web3 users meet each other without succumbing to the limitations of Discord. Perhaps there are ways to connect those within the same community without having each community install a Discord bot. Perhaps deeper conversations could bring us even closer to our goal to make web3 more connected, more human? 🤔

In our next post, we’ll discuss what’s on the roadmap and how we plan to make web3 more trusted and connected. Follow us!

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