🙌 WEB4

The future of the Internet isn't AI. It's human


Covering culture, tech, luxury, travel, and media, twice a week

Futureboard

Totes that offer space, organizational, and special compartments for functionality, can enhance your life in ways you can’t imagine. (Elle)

🔼 Bluesky users. The Twitter clone experienced “record-high traffic” after Musk imposed daily limits on the number of Tweets users can read »» More: Bluesky even had to temporarily pause new signups »»

🔽 The UK’s total area. Really. An iconic archipelago off the coast of Scotland is looking to split from the United Kingdom, and become a self-governing territory of Norway »»

💬 “In the past there’s always been some luminary from Hollywood that would [step up]. [This year], I haven’t heard of anyone.” Here’s what will happen to Hollywood if actors go on strike »»

🛫 These islands off Canada’s Atlantic coast are actually part of France. Here’s how to plan your trip »»

👗 The 15 best travel tote bags for your next Summer getaway »»

💎 Meet the Mercedes-AMG G63 “Grand Edition.” It’s limited to just 1000 (glamorous) trucks. Expect to pay far more than the regular AMG G63’s US$179,000 sticker »»

Quickfates

Kate Moss by Corinne Day (2006) © Estate of Corinne Day / Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London / trunkarchive.com 

ByteDance is working on "Ripple," an AI-powered music creation app. All users will have to do is simply hum a melody into a phone mic and Ripple will convert it into a “real” song, complete with AI-generated instrumentals »»

8 things you can’t miss at London’s newly-reopened National Portrait Gallery »»

The world’s best cities for a healthy work-life balance. (Almost all are in Europe) »»

Rwanda’s push to be Africa’s financial hub is attracting leading fintech startups »»

Sony and Honda's joint electric vehicle venture Afeela, wants to deliver EVs that are more than just cars »»

Apple eclipsed a US$3t valuation last week. Here are 8 things the company is now larger than —including France’s annual GDP, and the entirety of India’s stock market »» The newsletter's writer owns shares of Apple

Start-up airline Global Airlines plans to acquire three more A380s, as it moves towards launching flights next year. They plan to launch transatlantic services to as-yet-unspecified destinations in Spring 2024 »»

How to use Google Bard to find images faster »»

The billionaire CEO of the crypto exchange Binance is running out of places to live and work as global investigations pile up »»

Why Delaney Rowe's cringe TikTok videos are so good »» And: Jennifer Lawrence's Chicken Shop Date is as hilariously awkward as we'd hoped »»

Heard of Justin Welsh? He’s a Twitter/LinkedIn influencer and solo entrepreneur building a portfolio of what he calls “one person businesses” that earn him millions. Here are his 15 largest lessons from his favorite book on “solopreneurship” »»

Comedy-drama TV series Insecure is the first HBO title heading to Netflix. More are on the way »»

Deepfate

The future of the Internet is human

All we want. All we need.

THE SOCIALS ARE NOT OK

In case you haven’t noticed, Reddit (took their unpaid forum moderators for granted), Spotify (unprofitable podcast division), Snapchat (loses a billion dollars every year), BeReal (boring) and Twitter (where to begin?) are all struggling with some significant challenges these days.

Some of those challenges —like, super uncertain economic conditions, higher expectations from investors, and the rise of AI— are universal.

Other challenges —like the self-imposed problems brought forth by the moody and unpredictable folks in charge of Twitter and Reddit— are a bit more specific.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Behind all this drama: increasing pressure to generate increasing profits. That is also why every app you use seems to be copying TikTok.

See, today’s social media platforms are scrambling to introduce new features —and actively pivoting towards data monetization in the background— while also closing their walls to prevent their data from being freely scraped by generative AI providers at the same time.

That’s a lot. And while these chaotic moves are in response to a wide range of forces, humming along in the background is a pretty massive transition that’s been unfolding in real time for a minute, now: The Internet is transforming.

It’s morphing from:

(a) an open, public social space, provided by firms focused on growing their user base by connecting users to one another, to

(b) more of a personal space, created by firms focused on entertaining users —while also generating max revenue.

IT’S SOCIAL MEDIA, REMEMBER??

Here’s the thing, though: Despite the focus on entertainment, people still want to connect with one another.

And if they’re not getting it on TikTok and Instagram, they’ll seek it out elsewhere.

That’s changing the dynamics of the social web today, as consumers gravitate towards group chats, private messaging, and forums.

WHAT GOES AROUND

This is all actually kind of quaint, and reminiscent of the earlier stages of the Internet, when chat rooms and forums reigned supreme.

But this mass migration to group chats and private forums has actually left a void in the regular Internet.

As The Verge recently put it, no platform today provides the feel of a collective, communal hangout, one where diverse interests and conversations co-exist.

Platforms that once felt like a unified space are segmenting, much like how the rest of media is segmenting into individualized entertainment streams.

But, believe it or not, users really do long for a space where other folks congregate.

ENTER THE FEDIVERSE

Ever heard of it?

Funny name, but an intriguing concept. As Wikipedia puts it, the fediverse (a portmanteau of "federation" and "universe") is a collection of interconnected (ie., “federated”) servers used for web publishing like microblogging, social networking and file hosting.

Some vaguely resemble Twitter (ie., Mastodon, Bluesky), while others feel more like Facebook. The servers these products run on are independently hosted, but can communicate with each other.

Enthusiasts are excited about fediverse software platforms because they are an example of a more decentralized, more open social web —and are usually free/open-source.

BUT. These platforms are still in their infancy. They have usability issues, like accessibility, as well as finding relevant content.

WHAT ABOUT CHAT?

Then there’s chat apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal. These have innovated over the years as well.

Today, users are able to broadcast messages to thousands of others, and connect with any other user on these apps. But, at the end of the day, these chat apps were set up for 1 to 1 communications. They were never built to support large, diverse communities from scratch.

(Group platforms, like Slack and Discord, do exist, and they could potentially fill this human connection gap. But, neither has really caught mainstream fire on their own. The quest for a holistic, inclusive, and efficient social networking platform continues.)

AT WHAT COST?

The landscape of the Internet is changing beneath all of our feet.

And the seismic shifts we're witnessing in the social landscape, just might be the first pre tremors of a more profound transformation.

We could be on the cusp of the quote-unquote “neo-analog” era of the internet.

This is a world where smaller, more personal digital enclaves replace our sprawling social networks.

MEET “WEB4”

This newsletter believes that the advent of generative AI —which will allow more and more people to produce more and more content, at scale— will paradoxically increase the value of the human written word.

We believe a significant subset of Internet users are actually seeking a future where the digital social space is far more private, personal, and human than anything we've seen before.

Look for a renaissance in communication and content consumption, stripping away the excesses of the social media era and reclaiming the Internet as a hub for genuine, focused, and meaningful human interaction.

(This already exists, by the way: I’m essentially describing Reddit and Quora. But prepare for a boost in all sorts of similar platforms.)

FOLLOW THE MONEY

OK, so what’s this mean for me?

In our view, both individuals and companies can capitalize on this seismic shift towards a more personal Internet.

Here are the two main strategies Fate v Future and our clients are considering right now. Could one or both be right for your business?

  1. Go on, build a private community. You know you want to! Fate v Future believes that businesses are sitting on an historic opportunity to create and monetize private communities around hyper specific interests or niches.

Brands should facilitate their own private communities, via subscription based community, premium content, or access to exclusive events and other resources.

  1. The benefits of a digital product based business (ie., online courses, newsletters) are well known. But the rise of the new personal web may increase the appetite and demand for more personalized services and consultations. This type of offering is not scalable, of course, but that’s exactly the point.

As interactions become more and more personal, look for businesses that offer personalized services or consultations, such as personalized digital marketing strategies or one-on-one coaching, to thrive. (This could also extend to creating AI-driven personal assistance or consulting services, or creating high-quality, niche content tailored for specific micro-communities.)

Bottom line: the future of the Internet may be far more person and 1 to 1 than any of us anticipate. Is your business thinking about that?

More:

So where are we all supposed to go now? »»

TikTok Clones: How Spotify, Instagram, Twitter and more are copying features like the ‘For You’ page »»

Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Simply reply. Like this? Share it!

Join the conversation

or to participate.