Holy guacamole has this been a big week. Not to mention the fact that we were all hot messes this past Halloweekend (you can lie to me, but not to yourself!), web3 is back in national headlines as some of the largest companies in the world double-down on decentralized technology.
Now is an exceptional time for a state of the union on current social media platforms. Twitter has been bought and immediately set aflame by—hate him or love him—the meme daddy himself (I hope nobody actually needed that link). Meta, after having its lunch eaten for the past two years by a certain Chinese-based “entertainment platform,” is investing in its creators in an attempt to re-establish its dominance (see below). TikTok is still tik tokkin’, but concerns about the safety of app data are leading to renewed calls for its ban in the good old US of A.
What a mess! Buckle up, though, buckaroo—opportunities abound for the enterprising artist.
As a part of a whole new suite of new creator tools, Meta is rolling out features that allow creators to sell NFTs on Instagram. NFTs will be on the Polygon blockchain, and currently a select group of creators are testing the update. With 2.5 billion (with a b) users, Instagram is the fourth-largest social platform in the world behind Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp—making this the biggest news in mainstream NFT adoption perhaps ever.
So why now?
It’s super important to consider where Meta currently sits relative to other social platforms. Its stock price dropped by 25% last week as quarterly earnings underwhelmed once again. Ad revenues—the foundation of Meta’s business—are down, especially among the small-to-medium-business category it has dominated for so long.
Even as Meta sees minor success cannibalizing features like Stories and Reels, it’s too slow to keep up with a platform like Tik Tok—where the time users spend on the app is growing by over 200% year over year.
As a result, Meta is going all-in on the metaverse. Reality Labs, the unit responsible for building AR and VR tech that will underpin the to-be-built metaverse, has already posted $9.4 billion (also with a b) in losses so far this year. And guess what: Investors are out of their minds pissed off at what they see is a total waste of money that doesn’t connect to the core business they originally paid for.
So let’s take a bird’s eye view. Meta, the longstanding kings of the internet, are seeing their reign slowly decline as people get more and more tired of increasingly ad-ruined experiences. TikTok is the conductor of the hype train dead-set on running tired old Mark Zuckerberg into the ground, so he’s gone all-in on the metaverse—hoping that he can pull a rabbit out of the hat and basically build the infrastructure for the next phase of virtual connectivity.
Given that landscape, Meta is heavily incentivizing itself to bring about the metaverse ASAP—and that starts with getting people comfortable with existing blockchain technology. Meta is forcing mainstream culture to play its hand: it’s betting that NFTs are just a little cold right now and as soon as things heat up they can be there to reap the rewards.
In theory, it’s not a bad bet. Hell, it’s the same one that each of us are making by spending time in this space. But the key difference is that we’re not under multi-billion-dollar (one last time, with a b) pressure from the biggest stockholders in the world to deliver on our metaverse promises ahead of schedule.
So, as this news is coated in the calming pink-purple of Instagram’s branding, keep your nose out for the underlying stench of desperation that accompanies it. If Meta has once again predicted the future, then mastering this new feature early on could lead to immense success for the inspired artist.
But, as we’ve so often seen, the hype pendulum swings both ways. There’s always that chance that …….. IT’S A RUG (aka a failed project)!!!
Also of note! Beats—the project of major fren of wavWRLD watcher.eth—is officially live! Beats brings music to Lens Protocol to enable on-chain music discovery and interaction. Artists have a range of creation tools at their disposal while collectors can follow both artists and curators for a feed that reflects their unique taste and style.
If you’re an artist, submit to this form for a chance to join the platform. If you’re a collector, don’t you have your Lens profile yet? 😉