Storytelling, the Driving Force behind Web3

10/26/2022 19:04

Storytelling is an essential part of our lives. A good story is what compels us to take a leap into a new area and reinvigorates us. It is also how people begin to process…and ideally solve…problems.

So, it makes a lot of sense that the stories that have begun to emerge in Web3 — an industry built around solving the persisting problems and innovating at warp-speed — are extremely strong.

What is storytelling?

As mentioned, storytelling can be a means of activating people. It can also be how you bring people together, and build community. And that is because it is essentially building a narrative — and more importantly, sharing that narrative.

It has a very rich and, well, storied history, but continues to be a primary method for communicating, especially when you want to activate your audience. With communities

Why is storytelling fundamental in Web3?

As much as Web3 is a set of technologies, it is also a movement. To be completely honest, we could stick with Web2. It functions. The issue is it functions more for some than others…namely the largest companies and data collectors, not so much for individual users.

By telling a story of a different web — a web that also allows users to set their own privacy preferences, own their data, and interact directly with other users, by passing expensive intermediaries — we can begin to showcase why this technology is necessary…and why it's worth the effort to move to using it.

But, just because you might be a dev, don't think this gets you out of the story. The programs that you build also tell a story, starting with the architecture, and carrying through to how the program runs. In many ways, devs bring the story that founders and marketers build to life. Ideally, this reality lines up with the stories that draw people here.

Technology as a Foundation

Stories are complex. They weave together many different aspects. For instance, in Web3, it can be hard to tell if a story starts with the technology, or with the people. The two become intertwined, as the possibilities presented by the technology spurred on by the issues that real people face.

And this is important. The solutions and opportunities should always be tightly tied to real issues. And, while the excitement of the technology can act as inspiration, for a truly strong story, I always recommend making sure to trace your way back to a real problem for a truly impactful story.

Here’s an incomplete list of some of our favorite Web3 narratives:

  • Decentralized — If you’ve heard of blockchain at all, likelihood is, you’ve heard about decentralization, too. This narrative takes us back in the history of blockchain as one of the first driving stories for its development, but of course the idea for decentralized governance and flat hierarchies can be found much farther back, such as in the Rhizome theory based on the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Contrary to a hierarchical tree, rhizomes, like mushrooms create a massive network with different points that rise above the surface.While decentralization is extremely important to this space, it is also often disputed. But, I would argue that is a good thing, as it pushes us to continue to investigate how decentralized our new architecture is and how we can do better.
Source: Richard Giblett
  • Open Source — Open source has been around for a while, the late 1990s for the term, although some projects were operating in a similar model before that. Open source refers to code that is open for other’s to see, use, and modify for their own projects. It has been extremely important in developing the Internet we have today as a diverse array of people can build on existing code.But, beyond that, it also creates the Open Source Way, or a willingness to share and collaborate with others in a manner that is transparent. This is central to Web3, where partnerships and collaborations drive much of the innovation.
  • Private — Privacy is one of the most valued part of Web3, and one of the most compelling reasons to switch. Blockchain and Web3 offer a solution to extractive data collection. Instead of our current model, where users exchange the data for otherwise “free” services, with on-chain identities, users have the potential to own their data…and chose with who and how they want to share it.This might mean big changes for how advertising works in the future.
  • User-Owned — Look at Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). These types of organizations invite users to have a real say in how a project is run. They can suggest and vote on different updates and initiatives, giving users real ownership and decision-making powers in the platforms they use.

There are many, many more narratives in Web3, including extremely important ones. But, when crafting your own story, it is important to understand how you and your project interact with them. And, to check how well you actually align and deliver on these messages.

But, as the driving factor behind why people should switch to Web3 applications, these are important in both the development and communicating with a potential user-base.

Storytelling as a Collective

Stories at the scale of Web3 are massive, collective undertakings. They start with a vision, a set of narratives, and undergo many different iterations. Some of them may never be brought to fruition, some may undergo so many edits that they emerge a new story, and others may miraculously be brought to reality.

But, the thing that sets Web3 storytelling apart, is that it invites everyone in, to help set, create, and bring to life these stories. And, when you have this understanding, it becomes clear why storytelling is so central to Web3.

It is not just about telling people what will happen. It's about inviting them to be a part of setting what will happen and making that a reality.

Have any experiences to share or want to learn more? Join our Discord to talk now, or contribute directly to the Third Academy Library by applying to be a contributor below!

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