Last week, shortly before ghosting y’all, I shared an article on the toxic social dynamics of the dystopian Silicon Valley cautionary tale that is post-lockdown Clubhouse. The invite-only broadcast app — with average daily users down 80% since February — peaked during the pandemic and launched a whole horde of ripoff products, including Spotify Greenroom, Discord Stages, and Twitter Spaces. It also got criticized as a top-down cargo cult providing platforms and clout to the wealthy.
Their initial user base was handpicked by VC firms and subsequent users were invited in as ego fodder with nothing to do but sit in silence and listen or preach to the diminishing returns of their own choir. Along with its $4 billion (over)valuation from round-leading investor a16z, the whole thing reads like a Brosnan-era Bond plot, a secret-lab-cooked social media trend with no functionality outside of giving pre-approved voices a megaphone. And even though, like most movie villains, Clubhouse failed, their competitors are now being used to broadcast white supremacy and cyber sex — an oligarchical hallmark if I’ve ever seen one.
I bring this up because these critiques mirror those levelled at NFT and DeFi DAOs. Many (myself included) have flagged ‘decentralized autonomous organizations’ as late stage capitalism repackaged with shiny new messaging and overpriced profile pictures. In theory, they mark the genesis of the open, transparent creator economy. In practice, they’re chat rooms where the rarest furry gif gets the biggest say, and/or insanely effective fundraising mechanisms for the already well-connected. Now, in Clubhouse, we’ve already seen one such fad fall to ruin. Will DAOs be next?
They say empires only last 250 years, which, in Internet time, is more like 250 days. But, seeing as we’re now balls deep into building our own, there’s no better time to shill a series ourselves.
In less than a month, we’re launching our own NFT collection, and DAO. SN0BS is a meta scene for creatives, culture HORs, and average people to share and monetize their own work. We’re heavily invested — financially, emotionally, spiritually — in making the least shitty NFT collection on the market. But the road to the Lazy Lions Discord is paved with good intentions, and we know it’s easier said than done.
So how do you build a community on the Internet without it turning into a crypto facist shit show? It’s not a rhetorical question. We want to know. Our working answer — and takeaway from the Walmart Greek tragedy that once was Clubhouse — is that users aren’t powerless peons like Silicon Valley would have us believe. We can spy doomsday plans from miles away, and we’re the ones who make or break them. That’s why we’re building our roadmap in conversation with the snobs we’re courting. Including you.
What’s not working about the creative economy? What would make a democratic, decentralized organization? What would get you to drop your graduation money on a meme we whipped up in MS Paint? This is not a joke. For the love of doge.