How Blockchain Impacts the Future of Publishing
Discover how owners of a TIMEpiece identify as a community with values of inclusivity and optimism.
Let’s get started by revisiting a few basic terms - Blockchain technology is an alternative to what we experience with big tech, for e.g, consider massive centralized databases. The blockchain is a way of storing information on an online ledger distributed across a computer network, rather than a centralized database. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and Solana are all blockchains.

NFTs are files that live on the blockchain. The cartoon profile pictures you've seen on Twitter profiles, multimillion-dollar sales of Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cryptopunks, and other digital cartoon mega sales are NFTs. People pay high amounts for these NFTs because they operate as digital deeds. Other digital files can easily be copied and shared online, NFT are unique as they include metadata about the attached piece of media. Metadata is characteristics & unique information about the NFT media.

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, while you can think of Bitcoin and other currencies as the fungible token, every bitcoin is the same as other one. NFTs are unique and web3 is an ecosystem that would use cryptocurrency & NFT technology to solve problems like identity storage & privacy.

Web3 refers to NFTs, Crypto, Decentralized Finance(DeFi), and the metaverse.

The four are linked and independent. The early NFT roadmap started with 1-of-1 NFTs and evolved into digital subscriptions by accepting cryptocurrencies for payments.

Now, we look at NFTs and blockchain technology to evolve the relationship that we can have with consumers.
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A community-driven initiative called Timepieces
Time dropped 20,000 NFTs to 12,000 wallets. 6000 of them have actually connected their digital wallets to Time to remove the paywall without ever having to provide any personal information.
Revenue Advantage: Time earned $10 million in profit - outpacing revenue earnings when compared to any other NFT launches. The revenue was earned through different sources, mainly TIMEpieces - one-of-one NFT sales and later in secondary sales on the aftermarket.
Audience Advantage: From a macro outlook, the one thing we all had in common in 2020 was that we were isolated. NFTs connected everyone, everywhere - globally. The relationship between online identity is just as valuable as physical identity is a takeaway from NFTs.
Takeaway: A TIMEpiece identifies as a community with values of inclusivity and optimism - TIME editorial received constructive feedback through NFT holders. Over time the brand continued pushing and supporting these ideals and people who violate these ideals, were removed from the community. Today, the timepiece community across Twitter and Discord is sized up to 50,000 people. Approximately 10,000 people have sort of gone against what are TIME community values that were aligned with the larger ecosystem.
Discord is a communications platform that is popular with gamers to talk while they're playing online video games. Now, it's very popular to use as a way to, for people to communicate if they are all buying the same NFT collection.
Greed-based communities identify with follow-up questions -
  • How do we buy more NFTs? How do we flip the NFT?
  • How do we move this?
  • How do we sell more capex?
  • How do we sell more of these NFTs?

Values-based communities have conversations in different directions, and community members support each other in different areas.
While NFTs provide utility to verify ownership online - they are capable to provide functions in many different manners. NFTs can be collectibles through community and engagements. NFTs offer verification of medical records, depending on which blockchain you leverage.

Blockchain technology will change the world - once users understand that owning assets in real life and recognize that an online persona is just as valuable as a physical persona. The digital verification of ownership can act as a token or an access point to other things.

JPEG communities buy NFTs, and engage in Discord - find friends, and recalibrate relationships based on shared psychographics. Over time, two group groups have emerged from web3 communities - Values based & Greed based.

Values-based communities rally around things that are bigger than them, like flipping the NFT. A greed-based community simply thinks about how can I make as much money as quickly as possible.
Web3, News, and Journalism

Let's unpack them all -
Web1 is a Read-write - Internet
Web2 is Read-write - Social, Internet
Web3 is a Read-write - Social, Ownership, and Internet

Through the eyes of TIME Magazine
Every time a person refers to how much they love the TIME brand, they refer to the cover of Time - that red border of TIME, what's inside it is captured visually live in history. Time is more so a visual brand than it is a written brand in people's mind.

A distinction one needs to make around community and audience - The audience is there because they searched for something or they like a topic, read it, and then leave. And they have no relationship to the brand or to the individual other than one time actually engaging with it. The community wants to build and participate and talk to each other.

The evolution of TIME and web3 through a visual cue, as opposed to through a written cue in its initial interaction with the consumer.

What made TIME so powerful for 100 years has been that an artist or a photographer, or an illustrator, has captured living history in a way that has actually created a connection with people.
The difference between success in web2 vs web3
In web2, a brand hires a creator, who attracts an audience.
In web3, its community uplifts the creators, and a brand uplifts the creator further. By validating the creator - the community validates the brand.
For TIME brand, the traditional flow is Ian Bremmer writes an article about foreign policy, people read it and leave.

In TIMEpieces, the community supports its artists. When an artist has an incredible story - the people that love TIME work together to make the Artist's story into a Timepiece, which uplifts him and validates that he is an incredible artist. The community of artists pays attention to and supports TIME and this is the TIMEpieces community. For TIMEpiece owners, this translates into a group of people that I like being around and engaging with and they have shared interests and similarities.

Or Not. They just like to have the NFT asset listed.

Journalism is not exclusive to the written word or print - while photography is an extremely moving medium for journalism. For instance, when photography NFTs are compared to a news article comments section, and people engage on a topic on social media.
The community around NFTs - News and topics that impact the media.

In web3, conversations on the TIME discord are under many different areas - from general chats to sub-channels that emerge based on user passions. For a New community, it could be photography or tied into the larger brand interests - where the first consumer interactions are based on values.

You have a certain set of values, and users are allowed to earn that asset to access the ecosystem.

The zero moment of truth in web3 and community is that if you psychographically like an NFT, you can be in the general chat with Discord. To read the news, to read the articles, to engage with TIME community features, like the fact that you can access great minds and great individuals in a discord group.

Bring them into the discord and say, you're welcome to our Discord without ever having to buy an NFT asset.
NFT Utility for TIME
However, if you want to have a conversation with a noted journalist or an amazing author -, you have to own an NFT, which gives you access to a gated community - a subchannel on discord. It feels like a private event and a private conversation.

A basic use case of fully decentralized media is publishing the written word on the blockchain as an NFT, while this is not the future of journalism. The future success of news media brands is the web2 & web3 ecosystems complementing each other to deliver interactions with a diverse reader audience.
  • 1
    Time Magazine reaches 1.4 million people. Time Magazine tends to be male and is 50 years.
  • 2
    Washington Post which reaches 100 million people - is a much different demographic than the person who reads TIME magazine.

  • 3
    Social Media Handles for TIME - 75 million people. 62% of those individuals are under the age of 35.
    1/3 are not in the United States. It's primarily women and 16% are black.
  • 4 reaches 25 million people and tends to be a female in their 40s
TIMEpieces is global traffic.
Using Web3 technology we are able to develop new audiences and potential new revenue streams with a values-based community and unique data-collecting practices.
TIME President, Keith Grossman expects the media structure to change since it's flawed, no subscription. Revenue is episodic. Episodic is through marketers, subscriptions are annuities.

Episodic revenue streams require cookies or other ways of capturing data. This will change since Europe with GDPR relates to consumer protection, the United States with CCPA, and Google’s announcement to sunset cookies - cookieless experiences.

The advantage of NFTs with media is that once you connect your wallet, you are never asked who you are - you get access like the average subscriber. It's the same annuity - but a completely different way to capture the value and a more efficient business model for media companies.

While we may not know the user, we know what the reader consumers, own as NFTs because of the public blockchain transactions, find a contextual way to target you while respecting privacy.
In comparison, the distinction is that in web2, the platform does not provide the consumer with a choice to give up their personally identifiable information. Facebook & Twitter own these privacy rights in exchange for the use of the platform.

This changes in web3 when a user has a choice, and brands need to provide value in return for your information. An example of this would be IRL events - the community is presented with the opportunity to attend an IRL in a giveaway, and they choose to participate and share their information.
Giving the consumer a choice to opt-in with their information is a distinction & a game changer.

Moderating a web3 news community on Discord
Discord is a platform for community engagement. The time and staff it takes to invest in this space for news organizations - 7 full-time moderators for every region, a head of moderation, people from the community, and six hires for web3 initiatives.

Go by UTC time, and hold a town hall every week - here's what we doing, what to expect, and reward NFT holders that embody the values of the community.

In the TIME discord, a new member with zero followers started to learn everything about journalistic photography because of the vast majority of photographers in the community. He sold NFTs, gained a thousand followers, and started to pay it forward.
Measure success in terms of impact
To measure success in terms of impact, you need to assess the metrics that determine whether members are more engaged, knowledgeable, and better informed about news topics.

TIME covers news, and it also covers larger conversations around thought leadership and impact. Along with different columns, the news is not the only column that defines the brand.

A metric to observe is how many wallets connect to the brand, and how many read the news column.

Other metrics to watch are growth in the community, and Twitter followers that join the discord group. From a news aspect, TIME validates if the Twitter feed has personality and follower engagement.

From a business aspect, media brands evaluate revenue generated, who attends IRL & online events and which programs they attend, what time works for the community - these metrics ensure the community is inclusive to each geography.

It's more than a single metric - web3 is about fostering growth and building a community.

Building for a more niche or local outlet that lacks a large audience or reach, and may not even have a big crypto-curious audience is challenging.
How do you convince small communities to leverage web3?
Because it's early & new, keeping a separate handle for web3 initiatives is recommended. If you actually were to combine it and put web3 into the Twitter handle, it would confuse more people than it would do good for your brand.

Additionally, you can sit in some of the Twitter spaces and listen to communities that align with the brand and hear what they want. This will provide inroads into why your brand should matter in this space.

Web3 is a natural evolution of the internet, and technology will fade into the background and the experience just as present. The better way to approach this is to avoid the burden of trying to educate your existing audience but use it as a way to attract a new audience.

In its most simplistic sense, you need to consider how can my brand relate to the evolution that's taking place. Initially, it can be a scrappy team, pay attention to what's happening and adapt your web3 strategy.

Warm yourself up and the brand up to the community, expect to make mistakes, and work with your community to rethink your web3 approach.
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