For me, what started off with building a bunch of toys (steemstats/steemdb) ended up leading to vast amounts of inspiration and the desire to get involved. Having been a member of the Steem community for almost a year, the past 6 months of my life have been incredibly focused what I envision the "pillars" of a Steem-based web could be. Pillars aren't specific websites - but types of websites and apps that need to exist to facilitate true, internet-saturating communities. Blogs, Forums, Sharing, Social, eCommerce, etc - all are examples of what could be considered pillars (along with many others I'm sure).
All of these could be on the blockchain, either together on one or spread across many.
Today - I added a Reprint powered blog to the beta version of chainBB, which made me want to take a moment to pause and reflect. This isn't the first time I've had the chance to create a circular flow of interactions between these two types of pillars, a blog and a forum, but it is the first time I've done it where both are based upon the blockchain.
Here's an example of what I mean, using my the chainBB beta forum community: as a user reading the forums, you can see what's new in the community by clicking "Updates" in the top right. This leads to a blog, providing the most recent updates brought forth by the leadership of the community. At the end of each article, it provides an opportunity to join the discussion about that topic, which leads you back into the forums to join the discussion.
A (Forum) -> B (Blog) -> A (Forum) -> ∞
I've done these Reprint blogs for other projects, but none of them flowed together quite as well as these two. This setup creates a seemless flow which provides value to both of the pillars individually as well as their cumulative value as a community platform.
Essentials of a Community Website
To step back a little bit, generally what you do when you setup an online community is establish two things:
- The Soapbox: A syndicated source of important community information (a blog or newsletter)
- The Sandbox: A place for discussions and sourcing of information from the community (a forum or chatroom)
Information funnels up from the Sandbox, filtered, and then out from the Soapbox, which starts more discussion in the Sandbox.
20 years ago if I was quickly setting up a community for a gaming community, client, or friends - it would have been a server with WordPress (blog) and phpBB (forums). I'd very much consider this the realm of web 1.0. Facebook/MySpace came along shortly there after and added a one-stop shop for all of this (web 2.0), and out of ease, it helped centralize (and commercialize) much of what used to be a decentralized network of community of websites.
Today I feel we are on the brink of a new, decentralized, yet still connected form of the web. This could be what web 3.0 looks like, a hybrid of what web 1.0 and web 2.0 turned out to be. The connective technology that enables all of this is the blockchain.
Right now - anyone with the gusto and technical knowledge required can take the time and build these next-generation style communities, just like decades ago, when the same kind of person could have stood up their web 1.0 community. There are many parallels that could be drawn between today and the beginnings of web 1.0, including the fact that the user's experience generally wasn't the best.
Over time, this stuff is going to become easier and easier, to the point where anyone can setup a blockchain based community of their own design, and for their own purposes. The more people we have involved, the quicker the evolution will occur.
Welcome to the realm that I've been experimenting in, not just focusing on Steem as a website, but as an entire ecosystem of websites. If I had the time, I'd probably write rant-y somewhat nonsensical posts like this daily. Time is a luxury I don't have, as there's only one of me and a ton of pillars to stand up. Today though, I felt it appropriate to pause and write.
This is all the beauty of what's happening in Steem right now. This first year on Steemit has been overshadowed by a lot of hype, a ton of drama, and some down-right shady actors. That's nothing new though, it's not even all that unique - it's just life on the internet. But when you set aside the social dynamics and look at what's happened from a purely technical standpoint, wow.
Here's to the next generation of what the internet could be, and to all of you here (and elsewhere) who are helping make it possible.