September 05, 2021
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In the evolution of the internet: let's make sure we're building an inclusive one.

In the evolution of the internet: let's make sure we're building an inclusive one.


As we start to think about new ways of funding creators, and making a living online — we must also think about who these new ways are benefitting and why we need new ways in the first place. There’s no denying that our existing systems are broken — but if we fail to look at any proposed new system through a critical lens — we’ll only be copying and pasting our problems over.

The creator economy provides a perfect example of this.  At one point — it was heralded as a way for everyone to make a living. Everyone has the means of creation in the palms of their hands and can publish from anywhere in the world.

In theory — great, and there are some great things that have come of this.  There are more tools, resources, and very valid creators that have turned this into their main form of income. 

However — these tools and resources largely only benefit those who have the time, energy, and resources to create.  

Taking a page out of sociology textbooks and referencing Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs — we’re still failing to basic needs of the majority of society, and article after article after article shows that creators are being exploited by platforms, an imbalance still exists, and that’s if you’re one of the few who actually make a living

Call me a skeptic but we’re seeing this happen again with the allure of Web 3.0. 


Web 3.0 — the overarching term that makes up much of what’s happening in the crypto/blockchain/NFT/DAO driven world — at the current moment, is much in the hype state of things.  

We’re eager for new ways, new methods of existing, and new folks to take leadership and ownership of what’s to come. 

However — let’s not fall prey to false hope and inflated expectations just because everyone on the internet seems to be hyping up the future of a decentralized, communal-ownership world. 

This doesn’t mean that there is nothing to learn from or that I’m writing off this wave entirely — it just means that I’m asking the world to do better and learn from previous false promises + squandered potential. 

Creating a better future should have us taking a long hard look at ourselves, our goals and asking critical questions. 


There’s a quote from Don Norman, the UX Designer and author of The Design of Everyday Things that really stands out to me in regards to how we approach design

“Rule of thumb: if you think something is clever and sophisticated beware-it is probably self-indulgence.”

How much of this future world is self-indulgence, manufacturing demand and a sense of FOMO, that may never actually pay off.  (Sound reminiscent of an early-quarantine social platform?)

I’m challenging anyone who’s building in Web 3.0 or Web 2.0 for that matter to ask themselves a few critical questions: 

  • What previous knowledge are these methods built upon?  How are we educating someone on the previous knowledge?
  • What resources are required to execute?
  • What might one be limited to by their network?
  • What language are we using?
  • What resources exist out there?
  • Who is making these resources accessible?
  • What bias currently exists?
  • How are new members welcomed?
  • Who controls the information? 
  • Who is profiting off of this?
  • What external forces are at work here?
  • What blind spots might we have?

By choosing to look with a more critical eye — we can identify shortcomings and pitfalls.  And let us also remember, there are no original ideas anymore.

Where can we borrow from adjacent industries to gain a better understanding of potential mishaps and missteps that can be avoided?


I wrote about this in a thread on Twitter — and curious to know your thoughts. 

Are you bullish on Web 3.0 — or are you a skeptic? 

How do you think about inclusion in Community Design?

—Erin Staples