hi - I'm moreReese, a jiraffe on the internet. This is a story I wrote - iInspired by fiction, fact, and Farcaster - for the SayMore & Purple FarCon Essay Contest.
tl;dr: This is story essay lays the conceptual and metaphorical foundation for FarCats Fellows, a program that aims to exponentiate Farcaster magic through cultivating pathways for meaningful human connections on Farcaster in service of its builder-user flywheel effect. A more concrete program design follows in Part 2.
Author's note: In the spirit of co-creation and lorecrafting, the concept for this piece was inspired by 0xen's wonderful FarCats collection. However, this essay is not directly associated with the FarCats NFT project so if you think the essay's contents are mid, that's on me and should by no means reflect on the quality of 0xen's amazing FarCats project.
Trail Magic: A Fiction
Before stumbling upon this weird and wonderful place called the internet, I was wandering and wondering in the wilderness. The Appalachian Trail to be specific. The year was 2022.
Due north (up only!), I trekked through the Shenandoah Mountains. In their misty midst I must have missed a turn because before I knew it I was in a Dark Forest, sign nor soul in sight.
My Moment of Zen quickly turned to a moment of reckoning as I came to terms with my circumstances. My phone was dead, my bags were empty, I was down to my last Kiwi, and the little blue bird I'd hired to be my trail guide abandoned me somewhere south of Roanoke. I was lost without orientation. In a word, rekt.
AT hikers use the term "trail magic" to describe unexpected strokes of fortune on trail. This can be anything from a stranger offering a resupply, snacks left behind from an anonymous hiker, or a sage showing you the way for a leg of your FarQuest.
What I needed in that Dark Forest was some trail magic, and I needed it bad.
Just then a rustle sounded from the woods. I turned left to see a purplish blob approaching me from the black abyss. As the blob came closer it's form became clearer. A purple cat cloaked in a light purple Grey Studio jacket. It was one fly looking cat.
"gm," it said, "I am FarCat. I come bearing peanuts and Jam for your nourishment, and I'm here to guide you to the trail Hub. Follow me."
Despite fear and apprehension I did as FarCat instructed and started walking in the warm, violet light its aura cast.
As we walked, I munched on peanuts and Jam while my mind raced with a million questions. Then FarCat turned to me, as if they could read my thoughts, and said, "You're probably wondering who I am."
"I am FarCat. My fellow FarCats and I live on and around the Appalachian Trail. We live to maintain it and serve hikers like yourself. The AT, despite its signposts and well-groomed trails, is an easy place to get lost and disenchanted. As a FarCat Fellow, it's my duty to orient lost hikers and guide them back to the trail and Discove the paths they were meant to hike."
It all sounded a bit hokey and wonky to me, and I wasn't sure if I was hallucinating. Nevertheless, I didn't question it because we were no longer in the Dark Forest and, alas, I could make out a trail on the horizon.
All of a sudden, like magic, a granite arch, buttressed by Alpaca and Bison, emerged from the tree line.
"This is a Farcaster," FarCat said, "it will take you to the nearest trail Hub. There you will find lodging, supplies, and group of trail guides who will show you the way to continue far on your quest."
In what felt like a fever dream, I thanked FarCat and stepped toward the Farcaster. As I was about to cross its threshold, I heard FarCat say:
"How many casts could a FarCat cast if a FarCat could cast far?"
I thought: WTF does that mean?
Before I had a chance to respond, I was swept up in the Farcaster and transported to the trail Hub. It felt like magic.
Farcaster Magic: A Fact
Farcaster has a magical quality. It's not like other social networks.
Personally speaking, I've made more meaningful connections to people and information via Farcaster than I've made in many domains of my life - onchain, online, and otherwise. The reason I keep coming back is because I truly enjoy it and find it an enriching place. I'm co-creating the social network I want to see in the world. Sometimes it feels like, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, magic.
Farcaster magic isn't an accident. Technologists are modern day magicians. The technologists building in and around Farcaster's ecosystem are of Gandalf proportions. It's awesome.
But as all developers know, especially in the realm of consumer app development, all that magic technology can be for naught without a large, diverse, and active user base. Active users create value that attracts developers, who create valuable apps and experiences, which drives further usage, and so on.
Farcaster, in the relatively short period of time its been around, is already a paragon of this builder-user flywheel effect.
As early Farcaster users and developers who believe in scaling its sufficiently decentralized social network magic, it's incumbent upon us to continue mindfully cultivating pathways that reinforce this positive feedback loop. The forms such pathways take are limitless, capped only by our imagination and time.
With FarCats Fellows, I hope to invoke the formalization of a new pathway for casting Farcaster magic far and beyond its current reach.
Meanwhile, back on the Appalachian Trail
When I got back to the AT trail Hub, I charged my phone and found an invite to Farcaster, a sufficiently decentralized social network. Unsure exactly what this meant, my curiosity piqued and I created an account. What I found was nothing short of trail magic. A rich ecosystem of users and developers, building and connecting on a protocol built on principles I believe in.
Scrolling through my feed, FarCat's koan-like parting words echoed in my head: how many casts could a FarCat cast if a FarCat could cast far?
Then it clicked.
In Part 2, I unpack the FarCat koan and explore what a FarCats Fellows program might look like more concretely. Conceptually, such a program aims to exponentiate Farcaster magic through cultivating pathways for meaningful human connections on Farcaster in service of its builder-user flywheel effect. It is guided by the adage, "a rising tide lifts all ships," and sets its sails in pursuit of the Farcaster North Star: increasing daily active users (DAUs).
As such, the program and the services its Fellows offer should be optimized for ecosystem-wide collaborations. By no means does such a program seek to detract time, attention, or resources from DAOs, other public goods projects, or for-profit companies in the Farcaster ecosystem. Instead, such a program seeks to amplify the value-add potential of these projects by creating contribution pathways that coordinate efforts in service of total impact being greater than the sum of its parts.
Tune in to Part 2, where I unpack what this could look like in practice.
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