The Crowd: Aprils Fool [253]

Hi Crowd!

This photo was taken during an unexpectedly flooded visit to Jericho Beach in during peak Covid. In many ways the world felt upside down and the sunset reflection in this flooded field felt strangely literal. Looking back at it now I can still feel that sense of uncertainty and and perhaps impending doom just past the horizon, out of sight and touch, but luckily there's a bench where you can sit and watch it all unfold in front of you. It also strikes me today that there's another Jericho halfway around the world square in the middle of the West Bank, one of the oldest cities in the world also facing uncertainty and perhaps impending doom just past the horizon. The world right now is upside down, with unspeakable suffering being served out live on social media for everyone to see, yet helpless to do anything but sit and watch as it unfolds. We make our own beds. We make our own hells. As above, so below.

It's #4 in my SB24 series and for the digital art collectors out there it's available as a limited edition today only. 9 hours or so remaining. I'm saying digital art because I think Bats is making a great point here and I'm trying to be more conscious with my language:

For anyone freakishly obsessed with what I wear, I've updated my personal uniform for 2024, which as many of you know is something I've been riffing on and refining for over a decade. There aren't a ton of updates since the last time I documented it in 2022, but a few details here and there.

Speaking of recommendations, here's some from the tech side of things which you may or may not find useful:

My digital privacy paranoia comes in waves an at different times it's been more or less of a priority for me. I signed up for Protonmail first it came on the scene because I was worried about so much of my life being dependent on Google, but I found it too difficult to use day to day so while I've always had the account I've only used it a handful of times a year. Megacorp aside, I'm also aware that using Google so much is a central security weak spot, because if one account is compromised then that's access to dozens of others. Last year's final death of MediaTemple who I was using for "self hosted" mail has had me moving things around and the fact that I lost several years of email archives trying to migrate that has me in a bit of a clean slate whatever moment so I decided to go back and look and Proton has moved beyond simple email and now has calendar, notes and VPN options which are all encrypted and safe(er) from potentially malicious prying eyes. There's new apps and integrations which seem to be much easier to use, so doing some moving.

Speaking of moving, Twitter. Yeah. I've been there since the beginning, through the ups and downs and downs and downs. While I still think that the "community" on "CryptoTwitter" is great, the transition from Twitter to X has been a nightmare at every step and the rampant scams and pay to play and algo driven shit has made it really shit and I just don't get much use out of it anymore, except for direct messages with a few small groups. I'm committing to move my focus over to my Farcast/Warpcast account which I've been talking about and threatening to do for a while now and it just really feels like it's time. If you want to join me there here is an invite.

My brief tl;dr is since the beginning of all this, Friendster/6degrees/MySpace era the problem with social media has always been that someone else owns your circle of friends and that someone else needs to be profitable. Leaving is intentionally difficult and with the added fear of being cut off from friends people get locked in. I've been writing about this for a long, long time. Jack has even said the big mistake with Twitter was turning it into a company rather than an open protocol. There have been many attempts at open social protocols over the years, none of which have really caught on. There are several attempts happening right now in fact. This is the one I think finally has a real chance to pull it off, and I want to put my efforts into that brighter future rather than continuing to reinforce the old bullshit. I guess I should write more about this, but that's kind of the big thing behind it all.

Also, as an amusing aside, when I first started talking about this I offered invites and lots of people took them, but didn't actually use their accounts. There was just an airdrop which, depending on a few things, was worth tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds to some people, to early users of the platform who just kept showing up. It's wild to see this keep happening but I think thats a testament to this being the future things are moving towards. Loyal users being financially rewarded for using these services rather than disconnected investors. Makes so much more sense.

Speaking of scams and crypto, I've mostly moved away from using Metamask which has been the goto browser wallet for most people, in favor of Rabby which is just an overall smoother user experience. This is an Ethereum wallet, and wonderfully handles L2 chains like Base, Polygon, Arbitrum, etc.. in a much more integrated way than MM which makes you change and install and set each thing up. Regardless of which browser wallet you are using, I recommend pairing it with something like Wallet Guard which maintains active lists of malicious contracts and explains to you what the transaction you are being prompted to sign will actually do before it does it, and before you give it permission to. The one time I ever got phished with a malicious link was when I hastily did something on mobile and didn't have that added layer of protection to cross check. Since then I removed all crypto stuff from my phone and now only do things in browser on desktop.

Speaking of crypto in thinking about Bats' old tweet I mentioned before, two categories of NFTs that I'm seeing more activity around and I think we're going to be hearing a lot more about in the coming months/years and which make a lot of sense and aren't just jpgs, are Tokenized Experiences and RWAs (Real World Assets). Experiences are obvious. You go do something and you want to remember it or show it off to others and you end up with the "I did this super amazing thing and all I got is this lousy t-shirt" that you grab at the gift shop, or a photo from the authorized photospot or if was like a course or a lesson kind of thing then you maybe get a certificate that you can frame and hang on a wall but then anytime you want to tell people about about it you fall back on "source: Dude, trust me." We're all comfortable and familiar with collecting badges in games and apps to show we've done something, like hit a streak or hit some metric or achievement level, putting that on chain so it's provable and indelible is the clear next step. Let's say my Duolingo app is tied to my gmail account and I have badges showing I've done Japanese lessons for 300 days in a row and my gmail account gets hacked or deactivated for some reason and suddenly I lose the Duolingo app too, and the evidence of that achievement gone with it. I mean, sure if your gmail account gets hacked losing a badge in duolingo is probably the least of your worries, but it's an extreme example to make the point - making something potentially ephemeral more long lasting. Here's another - imagine being able to look at a ledger showing all the travels and experiences and achievements your great grandmother had, to look back at her life though that. Or being able to pass on something like that to your great grand children, it's like a family photoalbum you don't need to worry about getting lost to mold or fire.

RWAs are also interesting and this is even more obvious when you think of things like real estate or gold or various other "real" things that people own but only on paper because the actual physical thing is somewhere else, and rather than having a deed in a safe deposit box or at your lawyers office having an onchain token makes so much more sense, and makes the business of managing it so much easier. I know someone who is about to (or maybe just did) launch a company that holds a collection of incredibly insanely high valued watches that normies would never have the chance to own or even see but thanks to tokenization they can now by a fraction of them, which appreciates with the item and then sell that later if they want. It's not something I want, but it's something I can see a lot of people getting excited about. Something I already see people getting excited about. The thing I take issue with is the acronym, though it's too late to change that I think. "Real World" suggests the digital space is not "real" and I thinking of how language matters I always like to reference my friend and old roommate Peter Sunde's comment in TPB AFK, the documentary about The Pirate Bay where he explains that he says AFK rather than IRL because the internet and everything we do on it is real life, and sometimes you are just away from your keyboard.

Speaking of friends, before I end this I'll tell you I realized recently that I write better listening to old favorite music for whatever reason, I just get in the groove with it. I started out listening to Rival Schools, made my way into Sense Field and landed on Grade where I listed to Under The Rader several times on repeat. What a great record that is. If you haven't in while go listen to it, and load up the lyrics in a window so you can follow along because it matters. I had to stop writing to sing along at several points and I'm reminded how lucky I have been to have friends who have made such beautiful art like this and I miss them and even if I don't get a chance to tell them often I treasure them.

Go tell your friends you treasure them.

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