In 2008 I got on a plane for the first time in my life. I was a bit nervous as I got on, then we started heading down the runway and I got a little more excited.
Then we lifted off. And we started to climb. As we climbed, I was pushed back in my chair, and I started to get REALLY nervous. I was suddenly struck with the thought that I was about to fall through the bottom of the plane and to my death!
Just then, I managed to look over at the person across the isle from me. It was an elderly woman, and as I am contemplating how many more seconds I have before I fall through the bottom of this plane, I noticed she calmly picked up a magazine and began to read it, not a care in the world.
In that moment I was suddenly struck with a thought: She must know something I don’t. If she was that relaxed about flying on this plane, I probably didn’t have any reason to be nervous either.
I was thinking about that story recently as I’ve begun to educate myself on the emerging technologies that are forming what we are calling Web 3.0 or Web3. A big reason why I decided to learn more about Web3 is because I kept seeing people who are smarter than me, saying that everyone needs to learn about Web3 because it is the future. Just as I trusted that the elderly woman on that plane knew something I didn’t, I decided to trust that these smart people know something I don’t.
What is Web 3.0 and How is it Different From Web 2.0 or Web 1.0?
So each of these periods mean different things to different people and have different start dates. But for the most part, advances in technology, or how we wanted to use that technology, marked the shift from one version of the web to the next.
Web 1.0 – If you were born from say 1970-1985, this is the web you grew up with. This era is generally defined as beginning in 1990 or so, and ending around 2003-2005. This was where everyone was getting their first exposure to the web. This is when you could go to WalMart and spend $70 for the latest and greatest version of Netscape Navigator web browser (yes, we used to pay for web browsers!). The web was a very static place, and often you would see companies launch websites and simply take their offline circulars and put them online. It was difficult, but not impossible, for the average person to create content.
Web 2.0 – This era is the one most of us are familiar with, and it is generally considered to have started sometime between 2003 and 2005. This marked the ‘social’ era of the web, where content creation became much easier. We all suddenly had a plethora of tools to create content, and to also engage with other people’s content. We learned to collaborate easily with other people’s content.
This time period is also known as the centralized era of the web. Because all these wonderful content creation tools gave rise to things like social networks, that facilitated a way for us to all meet with other people easily and easily collaborate with other people’s content.
The problem this created was that the platforms that were built to help facilitate the content collaboration, also took the lion’s share of the profit from the content creators. Every day we went to Facebook and Twitter and created copious amounts of content, that these platforms then took and monetized. They turned our content into profits, and we got some Likes and Retweets for our trouble.
Web 3.0 – This era of the web that we are transitioning to right now could best be described as the decentralized web. Web 2.0 was marked by centralization. For instance, we all went to Twitter or Facebook to talk to each other. The platforms were walled off, what you did on Twitter really didn’t work with what you were doing on Facebook. And both platforms took your content and data, and made money off it. Typically, your reward would be a Like or Retweet at best.
Web3 is about decentralizing the web, and shifting power back to the users and builders. It will hopefully be a web where new platforms are built that can compete with existing ones like Twitter and Facebook. But the difference is, the owners will be the users and people who build the networks. If you create content on a Web3 platform that helps grow that platform, then you get compensated, maybe in the form of cash, more likely in the form of tokens or cryptocurrency that gives you ownership in the platform itself. So the people doing the work of building the platform get to share in the growth and profits from that platform.
Additionally, ,these apps will be open source, so if someone builds the next Twitter and someone else builds a decentralized Facebook, the two apps can communicate with each other in way that the current Twitter and Facebook cannot.
I think this is a big reason why we have seen an explosion of efforts by Web 2.0 social platforms to find ways to compensate creators in 2021. These platforms can see what changes will be coming with Web3, and they want to keep creators on their platforms and creating content for them. I honestly think these moves are about 10 years too late.
Where Can I Learn More About Web3?
You’re going to see that Web3 has a huge influence over the content I create from now on. As I learn what’s happening, as I start to work with clients on Web3 initiatives, I will be sharing what I’ve learned so we can all benefit.
As I’m learning about Web3, there are three areas I am focusing on; Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the Metaverse.
So far, here’s some sources I’ve come across that have helped me:
Web3 Twitter List: This is a list I’ve created on Twitter of people who are helping educate us all on what Web3 really is. Please follow this list, I am updating it frequently with new members as I discover new experts who can help us all learn more about what’s next with the web.
Podcasts and Spaces: I am listening to a LOT of podcasts on Web3. I loved this one from Tim Ferriss featuring Naval and Chris Dixon. An excellent introduction to Web3:
This episode right here! @tferriss in conversation with @cdixon and @naval opened my eyes to the world of web3. The possibilities are seriously consuming my mind right now! If you haven’t yet, give it a listen! https://t.co/XR13ABCSEn
— Mike Fortney (@mikefortney) December 9, 2021
BTW, I love the passion that the people in this space have for Web3. It reminds me of the early days of blogging, where we all saw the potential and were excited about the future. It feels like we are still in the earliest days, where only the builders and those with the passion for growing a better web are the ones putting in the work.
Sure, there are some Web 2.0 people (even some names most of us would recognize) who are trying to leverage Web3 just as a way to make money. These people are easy enough to ignore. And besides, if you help build something amazing that helps people, the money will take care of itself.
Web3 offers a world of possibilities for businesses and content creators of all shapes and sizes. If you are reading this post, you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with these concepts and ideas, because it’s not going away. You can learn it now and help shape the direction the future takes, or you can wait 5 years and follow the path someone else has cleared for you.