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  • Writer's pictureBryan Jun

community in 2022

The base unit of human society is what we simplify as community. Especially in the modern era, this word has taken all shapes and sizes, often being over used and implied in a corny nature, apart from its original intention of signifying the phenomena that comes together when a group of people united by a single cause or motivation curate a collective.

That's all to say that in 2022, community is both easy and difficult to create and maintain, given both our global access at the click of a button as well as our inability to stay entertain or grounded by one thing at a time. It seems that now more than ever, we are tied to a wide array of communities, big and small, depending on how many identities we subscribe to, and often fall under the (false) impression that we are able to sustain our involvement in said communities. The internet has now allowed us to be a member of a long array of communities, without the need to stay physically involved, and even amidst bursts of involvement, make others feel that you are around. Not only are we able to associate ourselves with a community by a single tag in our "bios" or through a membership in a Discord server, but you can even place yourself in an identity-based community without existing tangible infrastructure. I could argue that I'm part of the Korean American community without actually being a part of any club or organization that stands for such cultural identity, or believe myself to be an active member of the micro-influencer community, with no tangible definition of what that even means. In all, it seems that association with a community has both become an easy implementation, which has naturally led to the lack of in depth commitment to retain such association.

Nothing exemplifies this better than the industry I'm part of - the Web3 phenomena. While most (including myself) could argue the entire industry has been built upon financial desires and greed, I would argue that the true backbone of this world relies on community. Whether the actual motivations behind those involved in this community are "pure" or not does not matter (at least in my perspective), given that you could argue involvement in any community is, at the end of the day, for personal gain. In fact, I would argue that Web3 communities for the most part are truly out of pure interest, in that outside of financial anticipation that the digital image you have in your virtual wallet that you purchased with internet money could "take you to the moon," you are entrusting people you meet online to fulfill promises you don't even have a full grasp on. You're encouraged, if not forced, to constantly interact with people you can't identify by their "in real life" faces or identities, and it's solely their online (often limited to text and quite possibly by voice) presence that you build your relationship, and ultimately communities, upon.

I've personally went against the norm within this space by over-exposing who I am as an individual, mostly given my position in this wide "community" as a builder of a platform that users know is a VC-backed company, who's ultimate goal is to make profits. However, even amidst this openness, I've seen the power of community and the reality that human beings ultimately want one thing - love. I don't really mean this in a mushy, romantic sense or even in my religious perspective, the same love that Jesus would give you when you're going through something. I mean love in its simplest sense, which is largely covered by attention and recognition. People in Web3, and frankly people in general, all aspire to receive attention and recognition, specifically from people they find to be important, desirable, relatable, or all three. Web3 by nature, especially in the NFT community, is somewhat filtered down and has a starting point of relatability as a group of fanatics that feel "early" and invested into the "cause." What that cause exactly is can vary - whether it be becoming extremely rich (which is probably everyone's goal to a certain degree) or the ability to say one was right about which chain was going to be the chain (Solana vs Ethereum, etc.) - but does not actually affect people's internal desire to receive this love. They thrive on getting likes and retweets, invites into group chats and discords, replies from people they deem to be "higher" than them in significance and influence, follows from those with "verified check marks" (which thanks to Elon's recent update, may no longer be the case), and overall affirmation that what they're saying and doing is once again important, desirable and relatable.

Web3, and specifically the Twitter experience surrounding the industry, has taught me that regardless of medium, human beings will ultimately turn to community. It's inherent within us - this online community continues to exemplify that community is a culture and borderless concept and an internal desire that we can suppress, even if it's limited to sharing our thoughts in 140 characters (is it 280 now?) Fulfillment can come in all shapes and sizes, and while making the most money through flipping NFTs and making the right calls on crypto dips (too soon) could be the desire that gets you online at 7am, I truly believe that what really gets us going is the love from said community that you hope to or are receiving. In some ways it's dark to think that thousands of individuals seek this on a platform designed to retain your attention, perhaps because they are unable to in real life. But if Web3 provides an outlet for people who couldn't have it otherwise, who's to say that what happens on Twitter is the wrong approach.

Join my community here.

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