“I’m trying to decide if I want to buy 3 King Frogs to feed snacks and mash into a Mega Toad or just find a Mega Toad someone has already made.”
Coming from my 9-year-old playing Roblox, this might have made sense.
But the utterance came out of my middle-aged husband’s mouth over the weekend and I had to laugh aloud.
Then he went into detail and explained how an NFT creator had released a limited number of frogs that could be turned into toads that were going to be pretty valuable. The frog traits and snacks you bought them would dictate the toad characteristics, and the rarer the better.
If you’re asking “What’s an NFT?” (and I know you are, Dad), you’ll probably want to Google it for a technical answer because my understanding is very basic: it stands for Non-Fungible Token and feels like the digital art collectible equivalent to Garbage Pail Kids.
And while I may scoff, my husband has been in an I-can-learn-new-things mood for the past 3 weeks and he and our daughters (9 and 11) have been discovering a world the girls understand much more quickly than he or I do: that people really like buying, owning, and selling digital pieces of a gamified story.
Or at least that’s how I’m interpreting the facts that have trickled down to me.
The idea is that instead of creating a “community,” which is getting very buzzword-ish these days, you build a world your audience can inhabit.
“Instead of using aggressive direct response or media production approach, we build ‘worlds’ for our audiences to inhabit. Worlds that acknowledge their implicit and explicit motivations, show them better ways to solve their problems, meet their needs, fulfill their desires, and position ourselves as trusted, caring fiduciaries.
Our approach is inspired by writers who build worlds that capture their audiences’ attention, immerse their readers in a story that feels real in every possible way, and pulls their readers forward page by page, scene by scene with narrative tension.”
My reason for loving this approach is hinged on my love for literature and getting lost in a story, especially if it offers a different reality with specific societal norms you have to understand for context. I love that sense of escape.
I encouraged newsletter creators to build worlds with their newsletters, or make it a part of a larger world they’re building.
And now I’m starting to see NFTs for what they are:
Pieces of the worlds their creators have built.
Parts of stories people want to inhabit.
We can scoff at the art and say, “Why invest in that?”
But if thousands of people are vying to own a really unique King Toad, someone has done a successful job at creating the story that got them there.
People are moving into the world of NFTs and creating their own worlds within it.
Alien Frens are invading.
CryptoBatz are about to be released.
Potential Web3 newsletter goal: build a world in which people are having late night discussions about how to live in it.
Make it feel like an escape.
Maybe even get subscribers on the edge of their seats waiting for the next release.
Ok, let’s get to the curated links.
Just How Knowledgeable Are You?
Engagement, creativity, morality, expansion, and more are all in the line up for this week’s Publishing Insights. Sometimes the only theme is this: publishing is vast and requires us to know a little bit about a whole lot.
- 2021 brought a lot of turmoil and news engagement was not excluded. But, what does this mean for 2022? Sara Fischer and Neal Rothschild take a look here.
- Consider this: bundling locally produced goods with your subscription offer. Terrence Williams explains how it worked for The Keene Sentinel.
- Community matters. The Local, a small European publisher, proved it when audience engagement helped them reach 50,000 paying members. WNIP story here.
- Are your metrics “clean”? Caitlin Petre with Nieman Lab breaks down the ethics of metrics.
- The New York Times is buying the Athletic and Peter Kafka explains why: NYT needs subscribers. The Athletic needs money.
- What happens when you drop a paywall? Jacob Granger reports what happened when The Financial Times tried it here.
- In this Digiday article, Seb Joseph explains how publisher trust is the issue as concerns about cookie consent rise.
Should Publishers Get Into NFTs?
NFTs debuted in 2021 and publishers are trying to determine how to add them to their business mix. How can we make the most of the opportunity?
What’s next? Chris Sutcliffe shares how publishers have been testing NFTs and questions sustainability.