The Ark in the Flood of Web2: Will the reputation of Web3 be better than centralized social networks?


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To answer the most deadly question of Web2, Web3 is a new playground with fair rules.

Original Title: ” Web3 Ark in the Flood of Web2
Written by: Dark Star
Compile: Block Rhythm

People who are dominated by the major platforms of Web2.0 gradually become numb. Every day when we open our eyes, we see what we want to see in our consciousness, and when we close our eyes, we silently say to ourselves, “This seems to be good too.” It is undeniable that Web2.0 has brought us into a new era and is still changing the way of life of thousands of people, but it is undeniable that it has devastating problems. Whether the beautiful future envisioned by Web3.0 is really that beautiful, whether it will really come, whether it can solve or minimize the existing problems, we don’t know. We can only keep an open mind, see the problem clearly, and explore the most efficient solution at the moment.

This article, from darkstar.mirror, discusses the problems of the contemporary Web2.0 platform, and discusses the possible future forms of Web3.0. Rhythm BlockBeats translated the full text:

The meaning of “Web3” refers to the expectation of iteration. Technically, the version is an updater. When a new model came out, we upgraded and replaced the old model and was forgotten.

Is this what we mean when we refer to Web3? Will it replace the well-known principles, technologies, and behavioral patterns of Web2? (Is this even how the Internet works at all stages?)

Many blockchain enthusiasts seem to have made the same suggestion. As the term Web2 began to become closely related to centralized social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and as these networks became more meaningful-however, their internal policies can be arbitrarily modified, which may cause harm to society- —We often hear from cryptographic practitioners that decentralized applications may be a better solution. The network owned by the community will be more fair, because users who create content will attract more participants to enter the community as currency holders and integrate into the value they create. The dissemination of content can be based on value dimensions such as reputation or professionalism, rather than on various hype behaviors. For governance, such as the designation of various policies, it will be driven by the trend of the entire community, rather than determined by a small group of executives and their subordinates based on their own interests. The charm of this model is that it will attract more opinion leaders, provide a better user experience, and promote the transition from the old social platform to the new one.

However, we don’t know whether this will happen. If there is any impact that encryption can bring, it seems to make the “old” centralized social networks, especially Twitter, more centralized than ever before. How many opinion leaders use their fans to easily cash out in the form of coins? How many important projects use social media to find and recruit participants? Are there other channels to sell new tokens to let users understand their usage scenarios and meme stories? Where else can we show off our CryptoPunks, Hashmasks and Bored Apes? In the past few months, which Bitcoin short-term trader would not follow Elon’s Twitter activity? Social media is too important for DeFi, otherwise you don’t even know what the next hot spot is. There is no doubt that the viral spread of centralized platforms is so valuable to crypto marketing and communities.

Given this situation, is this transition still realistic? Or are we actually trapped in a deeper centralized system? So, what’s the problem with Web2 actually?

What’s wrong with Web2 actually?

In 2004, “Web2” was popularized at a conference that tried to ask the same question “What’s wrong with Web2?”. The organizers of the first Web2 conference believed that after the Internet bubble burst, the entire industry “lost its way” and we need to inject confidence at this time. It is particularly worth noting that there are reports that vertically integrated portals, such as American Online and Yahoo, trap users and their data in an unsustainable way, and hinder the innovation and development of small start-ups, which eventually led to bubbles and Its rupture. At first, Web2 was about understanding and imitating the ideas and design concepts of the open source movement, but at the same time, it also allowed us to see successful cases like Google and Amazon, where the company is still expanding and growing despite the exhaustion of resources.

At that time, Google was valued as a role model because it provided users with the best search resources. Google will not capture 100% of the value. He tries to make the entire eco-standard better. Its symbolic concept is “Open API”. Everyone should build on the basis of others. In fact, one of the most important lessons we can learn from surviving companies is that user-generated content and data can serve as a source of sustainable competitive advantage and improve the user experience for everyone at the same time. At this point, users will become first-class contributors and will no longer be downgraded to the comment section at the bottom of the page. Users are the protagonists of these new open systems. Developers will attract users’ use and contributions by providing a greater degree of freedom and flexibility. A better company is a platform that provides and creates more value for the entire ecosystem.

But the problem is that this is by no means a sustainable long-term strategy, at least it is not aimed at promoting the establishment of an open ecosystem. User-generated data is easily affected by a series of secondary optimizations, such as Goodhart’s Law, which uses “a certain standard” as an “evaluation coefficient” to reduce the value of the standard. If you create a ranking of page recommendations on Google with neutral web links, you will soon adopt a certain SEO strategy that is misguided by the “standard”. If you are on Amazon and need user reviews, then you will soon be overwhelmed by fake reviews. If you are using the user recommendation algorithm on Facebook, what you see will be what you want to see in your personal consciousness.

As major companies use various “standards” as their optimization dimensions, the relative competitive advantages of these “standards” will gradually disappear. As a result, these companies are naturally forced to enhance their user management and control capabilities in order to maintain their own advantages. In fact, data is like a way to reduce friction, improve experience, and centralize requirements. It redoes all the disadvantages of the past system and takes a new nickname. In fact, there is not much difference between the two. In most cases, these successful companies are not real platforms, but aggregators, they lock in customer needs and implement centralized control, although it is undeniable that this does provide a good user experience.

This “lockout” of users can be said to be the source of anger today. However, Web2 in 2004 was considered a failure on the market side, and Web3 in 2021 was considered a failure on the user side. We are a group of people who failed the marshmallow test, always optimizing for less friction, more dopamine, and shorter feedback cycles. We claim to want a richer experience, support independent participants, despise centralization and demand more valuable relationships and higher quality content. But then we turned on our cell phone. Therefore, the success of Google, Facebook, and Twitter in monetizing data-based advertising and optimizing user experience is now a problem, not a solution.

When Web2 companies began to slowly understand the powerful potential of their innovation-game-like clicks, watch lists, algorithmic information feeding-they became very good at using clever strategies. They are no longer committed to permanent openness, they will provide new user tools and developer APIs, and encourage the community to use them to build. If the results are beneficial to the company, they may allow these innovations to flourish for a period of time, but soon, they will either charge for successful products or make acquisitions and make improvements on top of it.

It is hard for us to blame them for using this approach. Because he is really effective! Twitter, Facebook, and Google are all profit-oriented companies, and this mechanism is not new to “platforms.” The giant of the open source community, Microsoft, adopted a similar strategy in its heyday. But it is the development and explosive growth of smartphones that make it so fierce.

The existence of mobile devices and their app stores, emoticons, cameras, notifications, and most importantly, a continuous sense of touch, is also a perfect match with the “Web2” social network. Every new mobile phone purchaser is a potential heavy social user, and the rapidly forming dense network of relationships, almost no one can resist this temptation.

This cycle triggers the influx of a large number of new users and highly engaged users, which is unprecedented in the history of technological development. People in countries around the world who were unable to access the Internet are now checking their news feeds all day long. The “attention” of every family and individual increases the value of experience, the depth of interconnection, and the viral expansion of the network. Mobile and social have become the second brain, and “push notifications” have become the sixth sense. Therefore, even if content creators and application developers know that this “game” is being “controlled”, they cannot resist this huge opportunity. Perhaps, they infer that if their brand or invention is the first in the field, and it is the best, then it may be one of the few that has developed so fast and has reached a certain speed of escape to break away from the social One of the companies in the network whirlpool. After all, it did happen. Social applications and content combine uniqueness, design and luck in the right way, hitting the red heart, which makes it gain millions of users within a few hours. Therefore, they injected their ideas, talents and funds into these platforms, added more attractive media and interactivity, and promoted deeper participation without increasing network costs. Although some people complain that this is unfair and may make people addicted, all this makes the Internet more important. A large number of users continue to pour in.

We are now in this huge wave. This is a world full of social activities. In this world, all institutions are led by a new, crazy, and unpredictable environmental wave. Our children dream of becoming “opinion leaders” on Instagram when they grow up. Our popular charts are the most popular tracks on Tiktok. A heterogeneous group on Facebook attacked the U.S. Capitol. Even social platforms have been hit by the storm triggered by their technology. In addition to making their status more important and central, their efforts to assert control have had little effect. Therefore, it is in the context of this wave of the world that Web3, as a typical representative of the new generation, has such an alluring appeal.

Platform wealth and economic sharing: At present, creators and consumers contribute to the platform to gain social and economic status. But these positions are actually rented (the position is limited to the platform, and the income needs to be directly shared with the platform). In Web3, this status can be owned by users. Not only is social reputation portable, but the association with different IPs on the platform is also user-specific and portable.

Content ownership and related rights: Web3 introduces ownership as a process. As the IP is published on the Internet, the IP is imprinted on the chain to verify the provenance and grant the creator the right to spread and use it. All of this is implemented at the individual level rather than the platform level.

The unexpected surprise of NFT: It is becoming more and more obvious that the value of certain objects on an open, interoperable world computer can already be comparable to the value of real objects. Although everyone hasn’t figured out why this is, it will be a considerable advantage as far as NFT is a unique form under the blockchain architecture.

Lies, hype, and robots: People can still choose to create everything they want. However, under the reputation incentive mechanism, people hope that their identity can accumulate as much virtue as possible. This also helps people to better find opportunities for good deeds.

Governance, personal influence, and temperance: As we discussed earlier, ownership has a greater impact on society than the impact of money. In Web3, individuals are influential within the organization in which they hold tokens, enabling them to promote decision-making, thereby allowing the community to develop more healthily.

Unlicensed development and composability: The current platform controls content review within its network. This also allows each user to start from the same starting point. In Web3, development is permissionless, because permission is directly linked to an individual’s reputation. Every decision they make is related to their identity, so you have to think about whether you want your identity to always carry the result of this decision before making each decision. Everything in the agreement is a foundation that others can directly build on. Therefore, everyone’s work does not need to be started from scratch, and everyone can build together and piece together everyone’s work as if they were Lego.

New work and collaboration model: Web3’s business model encourages collaboration. In Web2, all income is rewarded to the output end (advertisement for published content, subscription to completed works). In Web3, we can see the business model about the input terminal. Crowdfunding and social tokens allow people to invest in creative inspiration before the cost is completed, and encourage all participants from the beginning of the creative process to assist in cooperation.

This is an imaginative architecture that can directly answer the most deadly questions of Web2, because it has been nearly 20 years since its appearance: ownership, governance, openness, incentives, and reputation. In many respects, the solution proposed by Web3 is the opposite of the solution provided by social networks. It is more beneficial to users, creators, and developers. It pays more attention to the input of teams and individuals rather than network owners or operations. Fang has more control. This leads to another question: If this is more beneficial to more people, will Web3 replace Web2? Why not?

There may be three answers:

No-Web3 is best understood as an “economic” extension of Web2, especially social media, which will grow with the development of Web2.

To some extent, important components of Web2 will be better executed by the Web3 system, and the two powerful systems will coexist and run in parallel.

Will-Over time, all important components of Web2, including centralized social networks, will be replaced by web3-style user-led and managed protocols.

We can think about it from three levels: (1) Web3 as a testing platform, 2) as a supplement, and (3) as a critique. As for the first one, Web3 may be an open experimental platform whose success will eventually be swallowed by the existing architecture. The test platform exposed various deficiencies. For example, the inefficiency of the Web3 database structure could not show any advantages in the long run. As all aspects of Web3 flourish with Web2, and even enhance the value of Web2, the second type of complementary results will occur. This seems to be the case with Twitter. It may be the largest user portal for Web3, and it is clear that it plays an important role in the ecosystem. The third result is the most extreme. We may think that Web3 is an inherent criticism of Web2. To some extent, the success of Twitter, Facebook, or Paypal is considered to be the failure of Web3. For now, it seems necessary to update.

The difference between today’s environment and 2004-when we have roughly transitioned to the social/mobile Web2 era-is that large technology companies that have used their strategies proficiently have stabilized their positions, and newcomers have to act defensively. Try to emulate and improve these strategies. Take Twitter as an example. For encryption, its role is to promote various scarce products, NFTs, and a portal to expand FOMO sentiment. Today’s function is to spread narrative and create FOMO sentiment for the market in Web3. But with the exponential growth of many Web3 markets, what will happen? Web3 is considered to provide a way to escape, but it is not certain whether this is a scarce financial game that diverts attention, or a new playground with fair rules. We are trained to play this game well, not in a fair way.

Now, and in the foreseeable future, fan graphs on centralized social networks are an important and lasting source of value. From all aspects of society, we can see how effectively this influence is transformed into economic, political, and cultural gains. So if you ask this question in another way: Will there be a day when users’ on-chain identity and reputation will be more precious than their fan maps in centralized social networks? The above three answers represent different degrees of optimism.

With reference to the current development trajectory of the latest technological era, this is indeed easy to make people feel pessimistic. Many things that people thought could be achieved in 2004 now look a little ridiculous and blindly optimistic. Although the situation we are now in is both centralized and chaotic, it is actually not as bad and difficult to cure as imagined. Mobile Internet and social transformation are still bringing billions of people into the world of Web2, and this transformation is also the beginning of human innovation and interconnection. In front of algorithm manipulation and the clever incentives of social networks, there are billions of people with free ideas. They are not robots programmed in advance. In fact, they will determine the future. But they will not only do this based on the vague ideal of decentralization. If Web3 can really bring convenience to their lives, they will push the traditional network system to a new stage.

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