Get a Tribe: The Importance of NFT Community
Community is an interesting buzzword. The imposed isolation of the last few years has everyone revisiting their idea of community and its importance to them. People are social animals. We do better in groups than we do alone. There are thousands of studies based on thousands of years of civilization showing this. I hope you have a family and some friends and a lovely community in your everyday life.
If not, then you should join a club or a church or a sports team or something. You need support in your life, but this article is about a more specific sort of support network. I am here to talk about the importance of developing a community when entering the crypto space. This space is new, fast moving, and full of very niche language. That can make it a bit threatening to outsiders.
Once you are inside this common language reinforces your sense of belonging (see the podcast by @chaserchapman with @fkpxls or the bit I also wrote about it on medium). It helps to find a group of humans to ease you in to this bizarre space. They (we) can also meet you where you are so that things can be explained more easily. Then we can find out how you can contribute to this lovely, and vibrant place we find ourselves exploring together.
One huge reason to find and cultivate a community with folks is the sheer amount of information there is to deal with. This space legitimately moves fast. There is a great deal of work being done that should be paid close attention to if you want to be apprised of the advances in the space. There is however, a great deluge of useless shit as well. This “news” consists of intentionally misrepresented true info, misunderstood true info, disinformation and just a lot of awful takes from people who deem themselves experts.
Until you gain the context within the space to be able to tell these apart, you need a group of bullshit detectors. This may be one of the first benefits you will receive from a community well before you can contribute back. It pays to have someone say, “na man, disregard that”. Many of the most vocal voices should be disregarded.
See my piece on gate keeping written earlier this year for more on that. Find a few people you can trust who are not trying to make money off you. The following are screen caps of five tweets. Of these, two are important news, two are bullshit and one is a hilarious joke. If you are brand new to exploring this world, it will be hard to tell which is which.
So, the joke one may be obvious, but do you get it? To get the joke you would not only have to be aware of who’s head and face that is. You also must know Mr. Delong’s affiliation with sushi and that they have a new NFT platform. You would have to understand how its new system for NFT drops is revolutionary and that is being showcased with the drop by @jaypegsautomart.
You would have to understand that low gas fees were indicative of a successful deployment of the new auction mechanisms that sushi now allowed. You would have to understand the Kia Sedona’s relation to the NFT drop. You would need to be familiar with the butterfly anime meme template that is so often used to show misunderstanding.
You would then have to have been following Mr. Delong a few weeks ago when he made a joke about having an NFT auction wherein each bid would reduce the size of his face on his head. Of the other four, the Litecoin and FTX news were bullshit. Arbitrum and Solana both experienced very real issues this morning. Those issues were framed differently by different people. Some of these people should not be trusted!
So, can’t I just follow the right people? Do I have to speak to these folks and try to form a community? You can get a good deal of information from following the right folks. While I encourage you to follow @lawmaster and @NeerajKA, I am not sure they will be available to answer each of your individual questions. In addition to their possible inaccessibility to strangers (I say possible because they have both responded to me before and seem super friendly) their news updates may assume some prior knowledge of our industry.
By speaking to people and putting yourself out there, you will be better able to find someone who can meet you where you are as it were. There are many new people coming into this space from different directions. If you have a sophisticated career in traditional finance but are looking to explore crypto, do you think you should get the same explanation as a person who knows nothing about economics but understands the technology of distributed systems?
What if you understand neither, but have a thorough grasp of physiology and the sort of incentives that make things work for groups of humans? We all approach this interdisciplinary space from somewhere unique. I would bet there is some unique person already in the space well suited to answer just your questions anon. That is another good reason to get a community. I can make metaphors that relate my DeFi experiments to vegetable crops, but would that be of any use to you reader? If it would, please get at me.
After asking some questions, meeting some people, and sifting through bullshit, you will very shortly find yourself in a new situation. You will soon find you are able to help others. That’s right my new friend, the influx of newly confused and excited people is such that after only having a toe in these waters for a few weeks, you likely now have an exponentially better understanding of the space than those just joining today.
You can use this to help, connect and build community with these folk. You may just find that in explaining some of the fundamentals of your new interest to a new friend you find a deeper understanding of them yourself. Explaining things to people is a great way to better form your own heuristics.
If this explanation is public, then there is even more benefit for everyone. People you are not directly speaking to may find benefit from your words in the future. If you are wrong when explaining in public, you are more likely to be corrected. Everyone fucking learns then!
If you have spoken to people for a while, you have noticed that this space is gigantic as well as fast moving. You may at this point have an idea which corner of this technological and social revolution excites you the most. You will also know people who have their fingers on different pulses than you. This helps when you need clarification of what may be outside of your wheelhouse. What if you want to change wheelhouse or explore another corner? Now you know who to ask.
If I wanted to start breeding and racing NFT horses, I’d ask Mitch @classicmitchup. Dude is an expert in ZedRun as well as being hella friendly. You do not have to reinvent the wheel here every time you want to delve deeper. Whatever new bit of exploration you are doing, someone has already done. If I was interested in exploring the Axie Infinity world a bit more I would ask @BunchuBets for help. How did I know that these people could help in those ways?
They have been active enough in these communities to have shown POI or proof of involvement. These dudes each have videos, discord posts and tweets publicly posted as POI related to their fields of expertise. There’s another article about this idea (POI) on my medium page. When writing my practical guides of stuff to do on new chains, I frequently went into the discord for the chain being explored or the bridge I used to get there.
You often find people are more than happy to answer questions. There are people in the discords of every project, excited to explain to you how their project can help you. If there aren’t, that project is probably fucked. I have yet to find a protocol, chain, game, or application that had any real use that did not have people ready and willing to help in their discord. Finding your particular interest and then finding expertise there, is much easier with friends.
While much of this article is a pragmatic entreaty to get trusted info channels, this is not the only reason for a personal crypto community. There are extremely strong emotional reasons to get a tribe here. If you are like me or anyone else, I have spoken to in this space, you probably got really interested really fast. If you do not have anyone to share this with it can be EXTREMELY isolating.
You need people to be able to share your successes and your failures. Your failure can sometimes be mitigated by new friends if shared soon enough. I have been fortunate enough to see funds lost or stolen, recovered with the help of a stranger in a telegram group. If it is beyond help, then at least the full consequences of your failure can serve to educate your new buddies. Also important is sharing successes.
When I tell my girlfriend that I was whitelisted for an experimental vault or tell my mom that one of my favorite fund managers liked my tweet, its often a big “That’s great honey”. No matter how much your family loves and supports you, they just will not be excited about the same shit as you once you are deep in this space.
It can be a bit deflating when you are excited as hell and there is nobody to hi five metaphorically. I’m here to say I think it’s neat that thing you just did! Way to go voting in your first on chain governance proposal or minting your first whatever or initiating a bizarre financial experiment! If you need, I will give you a high five. If you need one down low, I will probably show you that you are “too slow”, because after all, were friends here. Were just having fun. Come meet people, talk to them, and find your tribe.