NFTs Are The New Social Media
What is social media to you? Is it Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok? What function does it serve?
The genesis of social media probably started from Facebook wanting to help people connect across the Internet. Different social networks for different connection purpose e.g. LinkedIn to connect professionally, Instagram to connect visually.
What really changed though is the entrance of brands into social media. They brought about a new form of engagement that's less of interpersonal but more of between a brand and a user. It can be a direct brand-to-consumer strategy, or it can even be mediated through an influencer.
With many of us spending a great deal of time on mobile apps, it thus become a game of attention-grabbing. The app that can retain your attention the longer has the chance to bombard you with more ads, more impressions, which meant that advertisers will be more inclined to use these social media platforms to reach their audience.
Nevertheless, our relationship with social media has since evolved – it's more than just connecting with your immediate social circle. It's about reaching out beyond your existing network.
NFTs And Social Media
Ok, so I'm really critical of social media, but what has that got to do with NFTs? For one, NFTs is a social game.
Why do people pay inordinate amounts for NFTs? If your answer is that they're degen, you're probably right too. But the reason why Punks and BAYC command more desirability over other NFTs is because of the social value associated with them – if you have one of these prestigious NFTs, you're either rich, or really early into crypto.
Owning one of these NFTs thus becomes like a social symbol, much like owning a luxurious car, apparel, handbag, or watch. You might argue that those other material things are at least tangible and functional, unlike NFTs. While that's true, I argue that the actual value you pay is 90% for the prestige and 10% for the function. In that vein, it's all about the social value.
Given that NFTs have certain social value, it becomes almost intuitive that they get subsumed into social media.
If you look at Instagram, it's mostly a portrayal of the best things in life that one can hope for – friends, family, food, holiday, lifestyle. If you look at LinkedIn, it's a portrayal of your professional background and how you can connect with similar people. If you look at Facebook profiles, it's a portrayal of who you are.
On that note, what's stopping you from displaying NFTs on your social media profiles to serve that very same function?
Your NFTs on Instagram can be badges issued by countries or restaurants you've visited. Your NFTs on LinkedIn can be schools or clubs you're associated with. Your NFTs on Facebook can be your favourite bands, or books, or interests. NFTs can become such social badges.
The Impact Of NFTs On Social Media
You might ask, is there really a need for NFTs to be on social media? What benefit is there, when we can already flex in our own ways on social media.
Have you heard the saying, "If you don't have a photo of yourself somewhere, you can't prove that you've been there"? While I feel that there's no need for proofs, the fact is that people want to document and display that part of their lives.
The benefit of NFTs is their verifiability, which can't be forged. Imagine that you'll only be issued the NFT upon yourself visiting the Edinburgh Castle or the Pyramids, the very effort of going to acquire the NFT may make it valuable.. Or perhaps, the NFT of your graduation certificate can be issued officially, then there will no longer be people faking their academic credentials.
Yes, it's not necessary for NFTs to be on social media. But the very fact that NFTs are social in nature, means that any widespread adoption of NFTs will naturally lead to social media platforms embracing NFTs. Or yet perhaps, a new form of social media might appear on top of the existing ones – where we're no longer comparing our accolades or our experiences, but rather our collection of NFTs.
In that very world, I'll liken it to comparing and showing off an art collection, except that it'll be more complex. Because NFTs will be integrated into the Metaverse, and that very possibility once again, brings about a whole new world.
I believe NFTs are social and they will become the next social media – in many many ways. Brands will be moving into NFTs. Our experiences will be built on Metaverses. Social comparison and memberships will be on NFTs. It's only a matter of when.