Why do we tune out when people talk about Web3, blockchain, crypto, and NFTs?


The future of creativity, influence, marketing, and the creator economy is right in front of us. But when we hear the words Web3, blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs, or metaverse, we can be quick to tune out.

Why do we tune out? These terms and trends are complicated. They’re new and undefined. They’re messy. They’re divisive.

But these aren’t new categories of challenges that are any different than modern marketers have been facing with the rise of the internet, social media, or the pivots we made with the global pandemic lockdown.

Instead, what if we leaned in? What if we admitted to ourselves, “I don’t know much yet about this stuff. Some of it seems niche or unimportant. I’m busy and have been burned before by spending time trying to learn or try new things that don’t come to fruition. But I know it’s my job to be informed. And I also know myself, and once I get through the intimidation and first steps in learning something, I’m a quick study. And I’m grateful. And I’m better for it.

Web3 is coming. Arguably, it’s here. For those of you following along, you’ve watched me source this newsletter’s pulse on social signals more and more from AR, metaverse, NFT, crypto, and other Web3 signals in the last year.

Will this transition be clean? No. Is Web3 unfortunately already rife with misogyny, inequity, and troublesome issues? Yes. Will there be huge expectations and even larger failures? Surely.

Think about how long it took for the internet to evolve and grab ahold of culture and commerce. Decades. And it wasn’t all a success. But it wasn’t all a fad. There’s thorough research on hype cycles for a reason.

We tend to forget how much skepticism there was about “internet” 25 years ago. How our brains couldn’t fathom the potential. How dismissive we were. And people we looked up to were quick to joke…

“I heard you could watch a live baseball game on the internet and I was like, does radio ring a bell?” – David Letterman, 1995

But we’re talking about the future of things like:

  • Creativity
  • Ownership
  • Community
  • Influence
  • Value
  • Scale

Not to mention the opportunity (and responsibility!) of being a literal and active stakeholder. To learn from the mistakes of Web 2.0 and do less harm while doing more good. You know… the things that impact culture and therefore impact marketing.

There are new headlines about the coming future everyday. And these aren’t small players making bets and buiding pilots…

So instead of tuning out when we hear new, complicated, and unproven things, let’s take a beat and listen. Let’s explore. Get our hands dirty. Be vulnerable in not being an expert or… (gasp) in being wrong.

Let’s not be like David Letterman in 1995, who critically mocked Bill Gates for evangelizing this new thing called “internet” and closed the segment saying “It’s too bad there is no money in [computers and the internet].

There’s no going back. Web3 is here and modern marketers still have plenty of opportunities to start the journey of leaning into our future. To fail. To grow. To build. To teach.

Here comes the change. I’m excited. Are you? -Greg

Here are the other social signals I’m tracking this week…

👯‍♀️ Instagram Becomes More Like Facebook

First it was the memes. Then it was text-heavy posts and conspiracy theories. Then it was auto-playing video and more video overall pushed to your feed. And now Instagram is becoming even more like Facebook thanks to algorithmically-recommended posts alongside ads, which are filling feeds and pushing chronological, organic posts from accounts you actually follow even further out of your timeline. Users are noticing and aren’t happy. But Instagram has been clear about its agenda, and changes like this are to be expected for those of us who study the rise, fall, and changing nature of legacy social networks.

🧱 Dorsey Out of Twitter; Square is Now Block

Not only did Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey step down to focus on Square, the financial services and digital payments company announced it is changing its company name to “Block.” Similar to Facebook rebranding its parent organization as Meta and Google to Alphabet, this name change is meant to clear up confusion between Square the company and Square the product. The Square seller product is still called “Square,” but the overarching company is now called “Block.” Square Crypto initiative is being rebranded to Spiral, and its other companies – Cash App, Tidal, etc. – are not changing. Look for lots more crypto news coming from Block with Dorsey’s newfound focus.

💬 Quote of the Week

“A new world of NFT-based media may liberate us all to watch just the things we want. No more Netflix or Amazon subscription; I just buy my NFT version of a show via blockchain, straight from the creator. But it’s going to make for an almost unfathomably vast, unnavigable sea of individual offerings. It’s hard enough to find things now. And if we need to make a monetary choice every time we do the digital equivalent of flipping the channel — or maybe after a short preview — it turns an evening of viewing or reading into a series of purchasing decisions.” – Douglass Rushkoff via How NFTs will Kill Netflix

🐤 The Good Tweets

📚 Reads of the Week:

🔥 Quick Hits:

See you on the internet!

Whamageddon starts Dec 1! 🎄

Last week I was OOO chaperoning my son’s 6th-grade class trip to Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, including running a 30-foot tall ropes course station for three hours. I don’t love heights and had to do the entire course to help facilitate the experience for the kids. It’s safe to say I learned a lot about myself in the experience, and I’m pretty damn proud of it.

Then I headed out a little unplugged, kid-free retreat. I turned my phone off, read some books, took my wife out to dinner a bunch, and did a lot of just sitting, looking out the window, and jotting things down in my notebook. Of course, I also got food poisoning and my wife got in a car accident (she’s okay!) so things got cut a little short. But it was more than worth taking the time and stepping away from the phone for a few days – with only 55 missed text messages to show for it.

We’ve now spent some time with each side of the family, enjoyed a nontraditional Japanese hibachi feast, and I snagged a rare Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade NFT. It’s been a pretty great little autumn break, and I hope you’re finding some time to recharge and reconnect yourself.

Here are the social signals I’m tracking this week…

🎄 It’s Whamageddon Season!

Experience" Last Christmas by Wham! in glorious 4K. It's impressive.  Seriously!

Whamageddon is a game played every year where players try to go from December 1 to Christmas Day without hearing “Last Christmas” by Wham! If you hear the song between those days, you are out of the game and have to post “#Whamageddon” on social media to indicate that you lost. The game starts next Wednesday, and by knowing about this game, you are now playing whether you planned to or not. Good luck!

🐤 The Good Tweets

🎙 My Interview on The Business Conversation Podcast

This week I was interviewed by Garrio Harrison for The Business Conversation podcast, where we chatted about using social signals to use learnings from the past to shed light on the patterns of today, ultimately shaping what tomorrow becomes. And lots more! Listen here.

📚 Weekend Reads

🔥 Quick Hits:

See you on the internet!