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The Replyguys Manifesto

A rambling rant about visions and values

Hello friends, your friendly neighborhood tervo here. It’s been 10 months or so since I last wrote on my own newsletter - it’s nice to be back. Tolks and Boffin have done a great job typing words in the meantime.

I return to you today to ponder the vision and values of /replyguys, the Farcaster channel I started a few weeks ago, by reflecting on the vision and values that helped me build Page One. Bare with me - you know I like to yap, and this whole unstructured thing is new to me.

While I could give you a whole Farcaster basics spiel myself (and will likely ramble about other Farcaster-related topics in future writings), that isn't my goal today. Several others have done so recently - give these a read if you need to get up to speed and feel free to leave any other questions in the comments.

Canonical Page One Lore

I started what many now know as Page One back in January ‘22 by going to MoonOverlord with a simple idea. His discord, The One, was the first server I joined when I first got onchain in August and I’d sat there every day all day since. Open for anyone to join and unaffiliated with any tokens, the server was constantly buzzing at the peak of the NFT bull when I got my start. Hundreds of ants brought crumbs of information to the chat every day, with nearly every big winner making an early appearance - if you could notice it amongst the piles of trash. Months of sifting through with the other ants in #nft-general led to my first real friendships in crypto - you end up cracking a lot of jokes when you’re all staring at the same computer screens 12 hours a day. Most importantly, these friendships were not formed in some WAGMI NFT server over a mutual financial interest, but over debates, disagreements and authentic expression.

A dozen things were happening every day, a hundred every week. If you checked out, you’d come back to the chat and have no idea what anyone was talking about. So in January ‘22 I proposed I’d write a recap of the happenings in NFT land. Moon graciously gave me a soapbox in his arena and the first few issues of Page One NFT Recap were written in a channel in The One discord. Shortly after, I moved to Substack for better presentation and wider distribution. Moon introduced me to Tolks, who’s Round Tripping articles perfectly complimented my NFT recaps. Then we added Boffin, our ever-forgotten esoteric essayist (who also did a great series of artist spotlights we should get back to).

With three consistent writers and the Overlord's megaphone, we grew Page One into - in my humble opinion - one of the most reputable independent crypto newsletters out there. Not through growth hacks and bait headlines and an overflow of fluffy content, but through authenticity, quality and respect. There were no giveaways, no partnerships, no interviews, no tagging people under our tweets to help spread the word, no DMing big accounts to beg for a retweet.

There were no incentives given to readers and no favors given to writers. There was just quality information about what was going on across crypto. On these values, Page One has grown to over 12,000 subscribers - I’d give you a laundry list of who they work for like many newsletters do, but that’s exactly the type of thing we’ve shown we don’t need to do to win readers. Sticking to those values is the reason we will continue to grow.

Being Nice is the Easiest Edge in Crypto

As we grew, I gained a 𝕏 audience and began to figure out the social landscape on a level above that of the glassy-eyed doe. Everybody knows somebody who knows everybody and it’s served me well to simply try to be nice to everybody. Win a friend wherever you can. After I stopped writing in April ‘23 (I was simply burnt out), I found myself tweeting way too much, which has continued until now. Some of you might not even know I used to larp as an NFT reporter.

As luck would have it, I’ve made a lot of friends on 𝕏 - big CT stars, tiny noobs and everyone in between. I’ve said before that I just tweet like I’m texting a best friend that doesn’t exist. Unfiltered thoughts on whatever I’m thinking. Nowadays, I feel like I’m a pretty well-defined character on CT. I drink white monster. I tweet some music. I cheer for the Arsenal. I post the Racer airdrop screenshot. I’m a normal person. While there are certainly other lanes to create your online persona, it’s usually easiest to just be yourself.

Replying your way to the top is not a joke - when you put it simply, it's how I and many others got to where we are. Show up. Be respectful. Have a sense of humor. Contribute something of value. That is genuinely all it takes. These are things I’ve talked about in different ways for years now:

Rolling a Snowball Down a Quiet Hill

Three or four weeks ago, I started hearing more chatter about Farcaster. I’d managed to leverage my experience larping as an NFT reporter into an invite in late 2022 (FID 5034 tyvm), but didn’t ever use it much. At that time, and for some time after, the average Farcaster user was firmly on the builder side of the degen-builder spectrum. Dan and the team cultivated an environment of productivity by spending months manually onboarding users, allowing curation at a personal level. VCs, devs, founders and other people who are in crypto for something besides hyperfinancialized gambling formed the culture. There is nothing wrong with this - I believe Farcaster is better off for it today. But to people like me and mine, it made the app a bit like a library - sit next to your friends, do your work and don’t cause a ruckus, please.

By late January ‘24, though, recents events had peaked interest in my corners: $degen was making its way to the main stage and frames were taking over mindshare. The protocol was open to everybody and DAUs were hitting new highs. I began poking my head into the purple app a few times a day but encountered the same issue that had caused me to shy away in ‘22 - I was lonely.

Some familiar faces from my social circles were surely already on Farcaster, but I had no good way to find them. More than a few echoed my feeling of uncertainty regarding what to post and how. So I did what any rational person would do - I made a channel for my friends to come hang out in. And I told my friends to come hang out, and they told their friends. On the same day, February 2nd, ciniz started /wearesoearly. The combination was a lot like rolling a snowball down a hill. We just gave it a push. The serendipitous confluence of various factors took care of the rest. Friends began to show up in droves. A cozy place to post was all that was needed. We built it, and they came. One week later, /replyguys and /wearesoearly combined for over 11,000 followers, today ~18,000.

These users didn’t show up because there was financial incentive, they just followed their friends. This is a key factor. You are not here because WAGMI our token go up. You are here because you want to participate. This remains top of mind for me as dictator. I did not make this channel to sell you something. If I wanted to sell you garbage, I would have done it a long time ago.

The Full Degen-Builder Spectrum

Last week, a sub250 FID Farcaster user asked me if I could provide some feedback on a project they’re working on. We jumped on a short call and chatted for 45 minutes or so. Somewhere in the conversation, they mentioned feeling a renewed sense of excitement for Farcaster over the past month or so. Without new users from yet-to-be-introduced social circles, they feared the purple app may never grow into more than a quite library for the onchain intelligentsia. I smiled. Farcaster already had the builders, I said. Now it has the users.

Imagine a bell curve from 0 to 100 - degen to builder. 0 is the guy who pumps out memecoin rugs for 10 hours a day. 100 is some crazy laser-eyes maxi type who hates anybody who has ever speculated on anything in their life. Those above 50 will frequently tell you they’re in crypto to support some Big Idea. Those below 50 will tell you they’re here for profits. I’m probably somewhere around 45. It feels safe to say that in November, the average Farcaster user was somewhere above 50, firmly in the builder range. I can tell you anecdotally that many of those who joined Farcaster to join /replyguys is firmly below 50.

These groups can butt heads on occasion. I read plenty of casts from OG users (most of whom I’d place above 80 degen-builder) that were all but naming and shaming me and Ciniz for dragging our silly little friends across the purple bridge. And I empathize, truly. Timelines were disrupted. Etiquette is still a work in progress. But there is a necessary mutualism here - without builders, degens have nothing to speculate on, and without degens, builders have far fewer users.

Considering the integration has gone (in my humble opinion) quite well so far, this is just a preemptive observation. I am extremely grateful for the OGs who have made their way into /replyguys, many from the first or second day. And for all the new users who have yet to get me into any trouble (yet).

The full degen-builder spectrum is now in attendance. If you build it, /replyguys will come.

Notes on Dictatorial Curation

Dictatorial content curation is another long-standing tervo motif. The internet is full of misanthropes and misinformation. If you do not purposefully get out of the way, you will be run over by them, whether you realize it or not.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve spent dozens, maybe a hundred hours on Farcaster, mostly in /replyguys. There aren’t really rules besides “don’t annoy me too much.” In general, the only way to do that is by engagement farming for followers or tips. I basically treat /replyguys like my 𝕏 timeline, which is filled with memes, charts, jokes, market commentary, relevant events, my friends and their myriad interests. Anything goes, as long as it in some way shows me that you are an actual person with actual thoughts.

I simply have nothing in common with the somebody who shows up to go “follower for follower” or “give 100 $degen to all replies!” I don’t care if you’re giving away - checks notes - $0.17 to a replyguy, I don’t enjoy reading it and it contributes nothing. Tipping at the scale it is currently seen on Farcaster is a rather new phenomenon in text-based social media (as far as I know). Allowing the channel to become inundated by engagement baiters not only annoys me, but makes it much harder for genuinely inventive ideas to make their way to the top of the algorithm.

I will continue exercising dictatorial control over channel curation. I am the first to acknowledge that this may eventually lead to situations some find unfair. The nice part about dictatorial control is that it doesn’t matter what you think is unfair. My interest lies with the channel as a whole.

If I had to synopsize how to be a good /replyguys member, I’d go back to the well with this one:

Show up. Be respectful. Have a sense of humor. Contribute something of value.

The Unpredictable Nature of Revolutions

Now for everybody’s favorite question: what comes next?

History was the first thing I ever “studied” on my own. Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast is a personal favorite. He’ll tell you the best laid plans do you no good in a revolution, which is what I believe this has the potential to become. Like a good profiteer, a good revolutionary is not predisposed to any bias, but simply prepared to react as the events in question play out.

As I’ve mentioned on 𝕏, I try to position myself in places where I believe opportunities will appear. Farcaster is a place I see opportunities appearing. If freedom from Elon’s wallet-drainers isn’t enough to catch your eye, the ability to bring questions and concerns directly to the Farcaster team might be. The simple but powerful possibilities created by frames and $degen tipping has given the community enough sand to iterate in the sandbox for months. Tying this all together through an onchain social map gives my mind enough runway to rattle off different ideas for hours. Farcaster may not become the crypto everything app, but I’m quite confident it won’t be fading into nothingness anytime soon.

I wrote about NFTs for 16 months straight. Nearly all of them have gone to zero by now. Watching this time and again, I came to define a successful project not by its monetary value, but by whether or not it tried something new. Each collection serves as an experiment. Good ones give the next experimenter something fresh to iterate on. One project’s demise becomes the jumping-off point for the next case study. Minting an NFT directly in your social media feed without leaving the app is one of the biggest “wow” moments I’ve had in crypto. It will be iterated on. Quickly. This applies to frames as well. One developer makes a cool frame, the next one has a template to build off. Give that six months and see what kind of silliness we can get into.

As for /replyguys? More of the same. I’ll be getting the ball rolling on a few fun plans this week, but in general I tend to cross bridges when I come to them. Until then, we do what we came here to do: hang out, make some friends, crack some jokes, try some fun new stuff on the blockchain. Wander outside our safe space of a channel and into one that interests you. Talk to somebody big and important about something you’re passionate about (they can actually hear you on the purple app). Remain prepared to react when the next opportunity surfaces. I think there will be more.

Thank You for Replying

I could continue rambling (and probably will another day), but I think this covers most of my immediate thoughts. I wear a lot of different hats, but most of them somehow result in being a connector, an introducer, an “I got a guy for that” guy. It brings me joy to help others. And the many kind words I’ve received from replyguys over the past two weeks have brought me much joy.

I was an unknown, inexperienced, unproven replyguy a very short time ago. I would not be anywhere close to where I am without the gracious support of hundreds of anons I’ve never met. I would be remiss if I did not do my best to extend the favor.

Hopefully somebody actually reads all this, but regardless, thank you for hanging out with me in /replyguys. I’m proud of what we’ve built here so far and grateful for the opportunity to steward it into whatever it may become.

/replyguys together strong.

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