The world is evolving fast. And whether you like it or not, Web3 is moving us to the next phase of the Internet. So before we get left behind in the dark, let us get to know Web3 and how it is redefining community. In this episode, Whitney Lauritsen helps us understand this world along with social tokens and the future of content. She dives deep into what Web3 means and shares the crypto she uses that is geared for creative communities, Rally. Next, Whitney talks about her biggest dream for $WELL social token, transitioning towards making actual change within her community. Helping other content creators, she then gives advice on how to make that transition into Web3. Plus, Whitney reveals how Web3 and blockchain might evolve or change the wellness industry.
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Redefining Community Through Web3
Social Tokens And The Future Of Content
I will be at an event on May 2nd, 2022. I’m in Los Angeles preparing for this event and this road trip that is accompanying it. Maybe I will share as I have in previous episodes because I love road trips. I’ve been pushing myself to create more photo and video content. I’ve been posting more on my Instagram, which is @WhitLauritsen and trying to get myself to do more TikToks. Neither of them is feeling like something I have to do. It’s something I want to do but I often find myself struggling with that. Part of that is because I’m learning so much about the way my brain works.
A lot of that feels overwhelming, complicated and exhausting for me. I have a lot going on in my professional life. I’m trying not to add too much to my plate. I’m interested to see what’s going to happen at this event that I’m going to, which is called CEX. It stands for the Creator Economy Expo. It’s the very first time that they’re doing this. Generally, those types of events don’t appeal to me. I’ve been to many in the past. VidCon is an example of one. I have done a lot of creator-type events over the years that I’ve worked as a content creator.
A lot of them don’t feel very valuable to me aside from networking with people and being around other people. I don’t typically learn a lot but when I saw the lineup of people that are going to this event, it was amazing. Previous to that though, I was initially interested in going to this event because the platform that I use for my cryptocurrency social token, which is what the majority of this episode is going to be about, is called Rally. I joined this Rally platform in August 2021. I’ve been learning so much about blockchain technology, NFTs and cryptocurrency since joining that.
They are doing an entire day right before CEX starts. They’re doing it in conjunction with each other. I was thrilled because it’s not that far from me. It’s in Phoenix, which is about a six-hour drive from Los Angeles. I’ve been wanting to do this road trip anyways. I thought, “I’ll go to this Rally event. Maybe I’ll go to CEX too.” I saw the lineup and they’re incredible people. I’m going to be talking about a lot. It’s going to be a little bit of a techie episode and creator-focused. It’s talking about the blockchain and the future of the internet in my opinion.
I’m speaking at both events. I got added to the speaker’s list for CEX, which I’m excited about. Speaking publicly is a passion of mine and something I want to pursue more now that the pandemic has shifted things and I’m starting to go back to events. I would like to get back into the swing of things. Part of the reason I wanted to attend is that some great speakers that I respect are going to be there. I know I’m going to learn from them but maybe I’ll also get some ideas or perspectives about public speaking.
I’m always interested in the content creator world. Even though I don’t do much on the influencer side, this show is certainly content. I work a lot with small businesses on developing their content strategy. I love being in the know about that stuff. Generally, this is why I avoid those events that feel a little bit too much like, “It’s about the influencer business.” That’s not my thing anymore. However, Rally has given me some different perspectives on what’s happening for content creators and what’s going to evolve. I’m going to talk about them.
Similar to some previous episodes, I’m going to answer some questions. This is the third episode I’ve done this. I’m doing a little interview with the Rally team. I don’t know exactly what they’re using it for. Maybe it’s some video or a blog post. I’m a bit unclear. It could also be for internal usage but it seems like something that’s going to be public-facing. They sent me all the questions in advance. I’m like, “I might as well do an episode about it.” Before I get into that, I want to talk more about what Rally is because I feel like it’s so new and very confusing to a lot of people.
I want to make sure that you understand because it is hopefully going to be a big part of my work. I started on this platform, which is built for content creators in August or maybe it was even July 2021. It changed so much for me. I see a massive future there. There are a lot of amazing benefits to that. I’m going to talk about them. This will appeal to you whether you are a content creator like me or want to be or you enjoy supporting content creators or finding new ways to generate revenue or income for yourself.
Either way, I need to pause there because I got to be so clear with you that it is my intention to never take a multilevel marketing type of approach to the work that I do in the blockchain world. There are a lot of people that are skeptical of it because it feels a bit scammy to some. Some people are afraid of the security sides of it. Some people are afraid that they’re going to be taken advantage of. It is of utmost importance to me truly that you never feel taken advantage of by me. This has caused a major shift in my work.The industry has really shifted from creating valuable content to creating content that sells something. Click To Tweet
One of the reasons why I started using Rally and it appeals to me is because it feels like an opportunity for everybody to benefit, not just a content creator. This is also one of the reasons why I’ve stepped away from a lot of the influencer work and don’t even use that term for myself because I found that a lot of the ways you can monetize in that space is by taking advantage of people. It has been very salesy and always promoting things. The industry has shifted from creating valuable content to creating content that sells something.
I found myself feeling a bit used like I was being taken advantage of. There are so many issues. I could do a whole separate episode on it. I’ve touched upon it in a bunch of episodes before. It lost its appeal mainly because I don’t want someone like you to ever feel like I’m using you. That is an awful feeling. Who wants to feel that? You are valuable to me whether I know you or not, whether we have talked before or whether this is the first episode you’ve ever read.
I cannot emphasize enough how valuable you are to me because that is at the core of connection and community, which are major things for me. They always have been but I got a little off track and drawn into all these monetization avenues that ultimately did not align with me. I’ve stepped back from it. I don’t make much money from sponsorships and brand deals anymore. Occasionally, I’ll have a brand sponsor on this show. That’s the majority of any of those partnerships for me. I don’t do them on Instagram. I don’t know if I’ve ever done any on TikTok.
I’ve been offered them a ton. Once you’re in this world, people will approach you a lot. Once you start creating content, brands will start to offer you at least free products. I don’t feel comfortable promoting things that frequently. Rally has offered an opportunity for me to do things differently but also benefit you at the same time. Let’s dive into and start with what Rally is. If you go to Rally.io, this is a website, as you will see immediately, designed for creative communities.
It is a network of what they call independent economies on the blockchain, which to me is a word that I generally associate with cryptocurrency. I’m still learning a lot about blockchain. Cryptocurrency is an easier way. If you’ve heard of Bitcoin, maybe you’ve heard of Ethereum. This is part of the Ethereum blockchain. Rally was created to support content creators whether they’re streamers or gamers. They also work with artists, musicians, celebrities and athletes that are looking for ways to reward and engage their followers. That’s what Rally calls that.
I don’t like the term follower. I’m a big fan of the word community and finding ways to create a true community. Those terms, reward and engage with, are key. Engagement to me is the greatest thing in the world. I’ve said this many times. It’s worth repeating in every episode that I do. Feeling in touch with other people is amazing. I love getting comments, DMs and emails even if I can’t always keep up with them. I love hearing from people like you. I do not like that feeling of putting something out there and never hearing anything back.
When you send somebody a text message or an email and they don’t reply to you, it sucks. You’re doing it perhaps in hopes of getting a response. Certainly, that’s why I do this show. It’s not meant to be a one-way thing. I want it to be two-way. I want it to feel like communication. Engagement is amazing but the rewards side of things is incredibly important too. The way that Rally is set up is there are multiple tiers of rewards. I don’t want to get too techie with it. We will see if I touch upon that.
It does have various ways that someone like you can be rewarded for being supportive or engaged, participating or buying something. Rally to me is best summed up for someone who’s brand new to it as a reward system that you would get at the grocery store for your credit card like Air Miles. When you make a purchase and get something additional back for it, that to me is how I like to view Rally. It can be used in different ways. It can get very techie. I’m still learning so much about it.
The rewards are the best way to describe it quickly but also appeal to people and say, “There’s value here,” versus what has been happening in the content creator world for so long. I’m going to say you because you’re reading this. Hopefully, you get value, you’re learning and you’re interested in something I’m talking about or you probably wouldn’t be here. I don’t know why you would read. You might get that value stimulating your brain. It’s a mental and emotional value but beyond that, it’s nothing else versus when you do something like make a purchase with your credit card.
Perhaps you’re doing that because you get a percentage back from making that purchase, which inspires you to do more of it or it’s an extra perk. If you go to your favorite coffee shop or cafe and they stamp your card, after ten visits, you get a free drink or something. People love that stuff. I certainly do. I love to get rewarded. I’m a person that thrives on rewards. I feel like that’s important and going to become a big part of content moving forward. How cool would it be if you watch Netflix and you got a perk for watching X amount of shows?
We should get stuff like that. Netflix isn’t the greatest example given everything they’re going through as a company but it’s an easy example to think about because when you’re watching their programming, they’re not just getting the value of you paying for it. They get your attention. That’s valuable because brands will pay someone like Netflix to get your attention and product placement, for example, or if you’re using Hulu, which has commercials in it. It is always weird. I have the “commercial” free Hulu plan and I still have to watch commercials on some channels.
Why? It’s because they can make more money by you sitting through a commercial. Even if you mute it or try to fast-forward through it, advertisers still want to try to get in your face to capture your attention. It has been unfair to be honest, especially when we’re paying for something whether it’s through our money or even our time. We should get something back but we have become so used to giving our way our time, money and also privacy. Your data is incredibly valuable. If you’re not paying a lot of attention, you probably even heard a little bit of info about how ads are used.
When you go to a website, you will see a ton of ads on it. It’s because that website platform is selling ad space to a company. That company values the ad space because it’s getting in front of your eyes. You might not be paying to look at that website but they’re paying to capture your attention. Your data is used in all sorts of crazy ways. If you’re not paying close attention to giving away your email address or ZIP code and telling people what your gender is, age range or all these details about yourself, people use that to continue to market to you.
We have become so used to that. A lot of us feel like that’s okay. I do and do not at the same time. I still have a lot to learn about privacy. It makes me a little bit uncomfortable because it’s ultimately coming back to people being used and taken advantage of in a lot of ways that they don’t even realize what the long-term ramifications are. I’m interested in how blockchain could potentially solve that or help that, maybe not fully. I don’t know if we can ever fully escape that. It’s reframing the way that we use the internet and consume content to give us more benefits and transparency.
That’s important because I’m passionate about equality, justice and fairness. I want everybody to feel like they know what’s going on. They’re giving their permission, getting benefits for whatever they do in their life and not being unknowingly taken advantage of. This is what drew me to Rally and why it was built. They describe on their website, Rally.io, that they have designed this platform to empower content creators with the ability to launch and build their digital economy that’s independent of any specific platform, allowing them to connect with their fan communities like never before.
That’s mostly looking at it from the creator’s side. We see the benefits there for content creators but what about if you are consuming? On their website, they say that by having, holding, tipping and transacting with what they call social tokens, which are essentially coins on this platform, you can show your loyalty and support to creators and gain exclusive access and premium benefit that the creator offers. Coins are not limited by the relationship between the creator and what they call their fans, another word I don’t love. Fans can also interact, engage and reward one another, which is neat.
If this is going above your head, don’t worry. I was there myself. I’m going to try to walk you through this. It’s important to understand as soon as possible because this is the way things are evolving. On the website, Rally says that you do not have to be crypto-savvy to join and participate. They have worked hard with credit card companies and debit card companies to make using and signing up for this platform easy and seamless. I’ve certainly found that to be true. That’s an overview of Rally. They have a great FAQ section on their website.
What Is Web3?
I want to transition over to some of the answers I want to give in this interview I mentioned. When I’m at this event on May 2nd, 2022, I will be doing an on-camera interview with Rally. They asked some great questions that will allow me to talk to you more about the benefits of this and how this is perhaps going to change everything for the content world. Their first question is, “What does Web3 mean to you?” If you don’t know about Web3, this is an overarching term that encompasses the developments that are happening in blockchain with crypto, NFTs and decentralized finance.If you're not paying close attention to giving away your email address, zip code, gender, or age range, people will use that to continue to market to you. Click To Tweet
All of this was foreign to me. When I got on the Rally platform and saw all the amazing things that they were developing, I knew I had to educate myself. I’ve spent a ton of time mostly in 2022 studying this and connecting with people. Also one of the reasons I’m going to this CEX event is because there’s a whole Web3 track there so I can learn from other people. I also have a separate podcast called Web3 with Whitney that I started to share my journey of learning about Web3. If you feel more interested in it, I am trying to take people through the basics of it as I go along. It’s becoming a big part of my career.
One of my goals with this episode is to educate you so that when you hear me talk about Web3 whether on this show or elsewhere, you don’t feel in the dark. Web3 I believe is the next phase of the internet. It’s not something I believe we’re going to be able to opt into. I don’t think we have a choice. It’s the evolution. To give you an overview of it, I’m going to get into this question here. For me, Web3 means a democratic, transparent and engaged community with ownership. Those are keywords here. Democracy or democratizing the internet is one of the big keywords in Web3.
Transparency is big, especially in the blockchain world because you’re able to see transactions that people are making. It’s hard to hide things financially or hide activity there, which is great for us. It might sound not very secure but there’s a difference between transparency and security. Engagement with the community is a huge part of this. Ownership is also a big word in the Web3 space because essentially, you will be able to be part of it. If you buy my social token on Rally, which is called the $WELL coin, you can own a part of the work that I’m doing and the community that I’m building.
It’s like having stock options in a lot of ways. It’s not exactly like stocks. I have an episode on Web3 with Whitney about the difference between cryptocurrency and stocks, which is helpful to understand. I use that term to give you a general idea of this. The other big thing I see within this Web3 world and the meaning of it is the rights of creators. I mentioned how a lot of the content creation world has become a bit too focused on money. There are a lot of people being taken advantage of whether that’s the content creator themselves or their community.
There’s a lot about it that doesn’t make me feel good. Alongside being taken advantage of, there are a lot of companies that are putting creators into contracts, for example, where they’re giving away the rights to their content and likeness, which is their face and voice. This is a huge reason why I paused doing sponsorships. The majority of the contracts and the legal documents that were being presented to me over the past few years were requiring me to give away usage of my likeness in perpetuity, which essentially means that a company could take a video that I made featuring their products and use that however and whenever they want for as long as they would like.
They might pay me $500 to do a TikTok video, which might sound like a lot of money. It’s not that much money but $500 is a nice chunk. I might be like, “That’s great. I’m getting paid. I’m going to spend all this time making a video.” I am putting it out there to my audience and helping them market it usually. I might even give them the video for them to use for their purposes but when I sign away my likeness, they can take that video and never pay me again. They can put it in their ads. Years ago, there was this one wonderful plant-based company that I loved.
They showed all this enthusiasm for having me be part of their marketing. They brought me out to a big photoshoot for multiple days. They wined and dined me. It was amazing. After all of that, I saw the contract. They wanted me to sign away rights to my likeness in perpetuity. I was like, “You’re saying that you can take all those photos that you took of me, put them in magazine ads and billboards and do whatever you want with them. What if I decide I don’t like your company anymore? What if you do something that doesn’t align with me?”
A great example is Amy’s Kitchen. I was a big fan of Amy’s Kitchen but if you didn’t know this, in 2022, it came out that they haven’t been treating their workers very fairly. All of these issues arose. There were a lot of shady things happening with that company, which was extremely disappointing. Had I, for example, been a big ambassador of Amy’s Kitchen and given away my rights in perpetuity, they could continue to use my name and photo in their advertising even if I no longer align with them as a company. I don’t sign those deals anymore. I have in the past. That’s the past. I can’t change it but I was pretty ignorant of it.
The Web3 Design
That’s a long-winded way to say that is a big thing about Web3 that appeals to me. Here are some of the reasons why. Web3 is being designed to enable people to have more trust, be able to verify things and build platforms that are built for a more democratic society. Web3 could potentially, if everything goes the way we’re hoping, bring us a fairer internet that enables us as individuals to own and control who profits from one’s time and information.
When you give away your time and data that is valuable and you may not have control over who’s doing what with what you’re giving away, through this trust, verification and transparency, hopefully, we will be able to control that more and also make different decisions that are based in more information. Blockchain has a promise to upgrade security essentially by removing third parties from the equations. For example, centralized companies like Facebook are holding your data behind their private vault of data that you can’t get to or it’s very complicated to get your data from them.
You don’t know what they’re doing with it. They have taken it from you because you’ve given them permission. When you sign up for a website and they have terms of service, most of us don’t read that. The information that we’re saying that they can use, similar to the legal contracts I shared, is pretty nuts at times. A lot of people are waking up to it. This is part of what’s being built through Web3. People are saying, “I don’t feel good about that anymore.” Not to mention data and security breaches.
Many of us if not most of us, I would be willing to guess, have been part of some data or security breach. It feels so vulnerable. It’s awful. Web3 is trying to change that. Data privacy and things like encrypting things are growing in popularity. I don’t know if you’re interested in this. I certainly am. There are different apps. WhatsApp is a great example. Discord became a big platform for communities. It’s the same thing with Telegram. These platforms that allow you to encrypt your information are growing.
People’s interest and priorities in data privacy are one of the core tenets of Web3 as well, at least as it’s being laid out. There’s a lot about Web3 that we don’t know yet that’s a fantasy. I don’t think it’s this perfect world. A lot of these things I’m bringing up sound like wonderful perks but none of this is guaranteed. The more educated we are, the more that we can contribute to it, ask for things and advocate for them. People becoming more protective of their digital behavior is one big element.
A few more things on this note is that Web3 isn’t just about giving access to that content. It’s about what you can do with it. A word that excites me about Web3 is utility. You see this a lot with NFTs or I certainly do. Maybe you haven’t yet. NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens are the artwork that you see people paying all this money for. You may wonder, “What is the purpose of that?” That usually comes down to utility if the NFT is set up to offer that, meaning that when you pay for something, you are getting more beyond its apparent value of it.
You’re not just buying a piece of artwork. You are getting access to a special event and membership. Web3 is set up to provide these tools for content creators like myself to offer you and for you to participate in. Maybe you get involved too. It’s certainly not a one-way street. This is two-way. Anybody can do this. This idea that it is becoming easier for someone like me to own content and maintain access to people like you is what it boils down to.
Another way that I enjoy looking at this is we’re moving away, hopefully, from the attention economy as I’ve outlined to the ownership economy that’s changing the balance of power, meaning that you and the creators that you’re supporting have more ownership. Jack Conte, who created Patreon, said, “It’s shifting power away from institutions and towards individual creative people.” Patreon is worth mentioning too because I look at Rally as similar but better than Patreon. I have a Patreon for Wellevatr and Eco-Vegan Gal.
I am going to start offering Rally social tokens, the cryptocurrency that I have, as perks to Patreon supporters. I’m also thinking that eventually, I want to dissolve Patreon and connect with people through a platform like Rally. If you’re a Patreon supporter, that is so meaningful to me. Thank you for supporting. I will be sending you some Rally. That has been on my plan for a long time. I might even use this episode as a way to educate my Rally supporters and Patreon supporters because I want to give it all away.
Speaking of which, even if you’re not supporting Wellevatr on Patreon, I would love to give you some of the Rally coins. I’m going to talk about that a little bit more but I’m going to pause here to say that I have been working on all different ways to distribute it to people for free. Why? It’s because Rally invested in me as a creator and gave me a seed fund. Other people have supported me there. I have been generating cryptocurrency. I have more than enough for myself. I don’t need it all.Web3 isn't just about giving access to that content. It's about what you can do with it. Click To Tweet
I would love to give some to you for free with no strings attached as a way for you to understand this platform. That to me is one of the greatest things that have come out of this. I want to mention that since I mentioned Patreon. This actual next question from Rally ties into that same element of what I discussed, which is, “What is the most successful decision in growing your token economy?” For me, it is that I’m giving away community rewards as thank you gifts and reward participation.
I’ve been doing this on my other podcast, Web3 with Whitney. If people submit questions to me and interact with me anywhere in that show, I will send them Rally. I did that as a test because there are a lot of techs that I have to figure out to distribute. It has worked well. That’s why I’m excited to offer that as well to you. That’s as simple as it is because me giving it to you is part of the ability I have from being on that platform. It’s part of being generous. With you on the platform, it benefits me and everybody else because the way that the system works is the more people, the better it benefits everyone.
Stocks work the same way. When more people join Rally, its value of it goes up. Simply by you having a vested amount in the Rally platform, you get rewarded. Rally pays out essentially dividends to people. They call it Rally rewards. Every single week that you are holding onto social tokens whether it’s mine with the $WELL coin or anybody else’s and there are between 200 to 300 people on this platform that have their economies, you could have coins. I’m supporting 40 different people there. For every single coin that I have, I get rewarded for it each week dependent on the growth.
As each of those social tokens grows so do your finances. Here’s the simplest way to say it. Let me outline it in case this isn’t clear. I have the $WELL coin. You would go to Rally.io/creator/WELL or Rally.io. If you search for WELL, you will find my coin. Let’s say you bought $5 worth of it. You would get however many coins based on the price point of that. Those would sit in your account. You could use those coins to support other people. You could trade my coins for somebody else’s.
A great example is my friend, Brian. He has a coin called $ADHD coin. Let’s say you got 100 $WELL coins. You could take 50 of those and give them to $ADHD. You would still have 100 coins on Rally but you would be supporting me and Brian splitting it 50/50. Based on the growth that each of us is having, you could receive rewards for that by holding it there. It’s like having a savings account having stock dividends. By keeping your money there, you will get rewarded. It’s neat. At any time you want, you can take that and transition it into other cryptocurrencies or even fiat US dollars.
For example, you can put it right back into your bank account at any point and cash out essentially. It’s very similar to how the stock market works. That’s brilliant. Also, people like me will reward you for holding onto the coin. If you hold 100 coins, I might send you a few more every few months and bonuses. People like me have the opportunity to do that. It’s up to each of us as individuals. You can buy NFTs on the Rally platform. There’s a lot you can do there.
How Content Creators Transition To Web3
It also reminds me of being at an amusement park or an arcade where you go in there. Let’s say it’s Chuck E. Cheese or Dave & Buster’s. In Dave & Buster’s, you have to put money onto a card. You can carry around that card and use it to play games but all the fiat money put in is in Dave and Buster’s coins. It’s a very similar thing in Rally except you’re not just spending money. You’re making money on the platform. It’s neat. The next question from Rally is, “What’s one piece of advice you would give creators looking to make the transition into Web3?”
If you’re not a content creator, this may not interest you at first glance but maybe you will at least get a peek into where content creation is going. If you’re reading this, you are in the creator world. If you’re on social media, you’re seeing content creators. If you’re on YouTube and Netflix, all of that is content. You may be interested in knowing what the business is like from behind the scenes. My advice is that other creators focus on community.
There’s a great tweet that I read from @Rex_Woodbury on Twitter who said, “In the future, instead of measuring a creator’s clout based on her Instagram following, we will point to her market cap.” That’s the idea here with Rally. I love that because it’s taking away the emphasis on how many followers and likes people get. It’s silly to me. It has not only to do with community. A lot of content creators throw around the word community. I certainly have in the past. I’ve always liked that word over saying, “My fans or audience.”
Those words feel icky to me because they feel like I’m only benefiting but the community has always appealed to me because it involves everybody benefiting. Given that there are a lot of opportunities for that in Web3, I hope that more creators do that and evolve away from being content producers to human connectors. I love that term. I don’t think I came up with that. I feel like somebody else wrote that. I wish I could remember off the top of my head because it’s so great. If I did come up with that, I want to pat myself on the back because human connection is so amazing.
I hope that content creators who use social tokens like Rally offers are not doing it to create a proverbial velvet rope. My intention is not to exclude anybody. Inclusivity is so important to me. I want it to be that I’m providing perks for access, not limiting access to people that support me financially. That can be very detrimental. Going back to the community statement, there’s a wonderful quote from this white paper I read called From Dependence to Independence: The Rise of the Independent Creator.
It’s a great read, especially if you’re a content creator or someone interested in the developments and the trajectory that we’re on. This white paper says, “For too long, we have been getting our terminology mixed up, calling audiences built on social platforms ‘communities’ when they’re anything but. A community isn’t built on DMs and comment feeds and doesn’t require you to fight for attention with every post or story. That’s an audience, not a community.”
I’m so passionate about this. It gives me fired up because I want to build a real relationship with you and a real community in every sense of it. It’s one of my big focuses. I have a lot of passions. I’m constantly thinking about community, reading books on it, taking classes and going to these conferences. I want to understand how to build it. It’s hard. I’ve been running my Beyond Measure community for years. It launched in the summer of 2020.
That has been amazing but so challenging because I’ve had to learn how to communicate with people in an effective way, structure things that appeal to them and offer value. There’s still so much of it I don’t understand. If you do decide to join Beyond Measure, it’s free now at least. I’m moving towards a paid structure because of added features that have become costly for me. I need to offset that a little bit. My goal is always to make Beyond Measure accessible. Part of that is so I can do things like offer Rally rewards, which have become a big thing.
Since February 2022, I have been experimenting with rewarding people for participating. For example, if somebody posts in the community, they seem very active and they’re asking questions or sharing things with other people, they get rewards for that. If they’re commenting a lot and showing their support for people who are posting these things, they get rewarded for that. If they’re showing up to our live group calls that we have, they’re rewarded for that.
Every month, they pick 4 to 5 members in the groups that have been the top participants and I give them free Rally, which they can do whatever they please with. That excites me. Going back to what community means and this is a huge part of Beyond Measure, it’s aiming to bind people together based on their shared values and give them shared incentives. It’s motivating people to connect and transform together. It’s making decisions together for each other with each other. This is huge. It’s sharing the benefits and the upsides with everybody.
This is what community truly means to me, not just as that white paper said that it’s about you liking my content and me thanking you for it. That’s the old model. The new model is that by you engaging, you’re rewarded along with it. Maybe you’re also voting on what content gets created and doing things along with me. It’s not just me showing off my life to you as so much of content creation has been over time. There’s also this great quote from a man named Brendan Gahan who said, “Be transparent, add value, engage, be nimble and adapt. Listen versus disrupt.”
Even the word listen makes me happy because so many of us either feel like we’re begging people to listen to us or we feel like no one is listening to us so we don’t even try anymore or maybe we’re not listening to other people because we’re so busy trying to get their attention and get validation. Listening to me is a beautiful skill that each of us can work on. It makes a world of difference in our communication, especially as a community. In our one-on-one relationships as you know, especially romantically, you have to work on listening. Otherwise, your partner is not going to feel heard.I hope that they evolve away from being content producers to human connectors. Click To Tweet
Whitney’s Big Dream For Social Token
This transparency, adding value and engaging with people are so big. This brings up a lot of passion for me. It ties into the next question, “What is your biggest dream for your social token?” It comes down to two things for me. It’s to fully transition away from selling products and services and to make actual change within my community. The caveat here is I enjoy offering services to people and like getting paid for them. I do that with a lot of small businesses. I offer content strategy and social media strategy and then Web3 strategy is going to become part of my offering podcast strategy.
These are things people pay me for. Those are services. I don’t want to say I’m going to fully transition away from that. I wrote that down because in the past, especially with my brand Eco-Vegan Gal, it was based around monetizing through products and services and then eventually sponsorships, which essentially are a service in a way. It doesn’t resonate with me. I don’t want to always be talking about the book that I have, my eBook or physical book, my t-shirts and the various merchandise I’ve offered.
I don’t want to always be recommending products to people so I can make affiliate commissions or get sponsors. That was draining to me. It wasn’t always in alignment with me. It was complex legally. There are so many factors. I would so much rather find a way to connect with you to build a community with you so that we would all experience change together. That is my biggest dream. It’s simultaneously moving away from the traditional donation model like Patreon, for example, in which you’re paying someone like me so I can get the benefits from you.
Certainly, on Patreon, you can offer perks. I’ve experimented with that but it’s tough. Patreon has never felt easy to me but that’s another story. What I would like to move to is a value model in which you’re getting something because it benefits you. That’s where I see things headed whether that’s the connection that benefits you or whether you’re learning or getting Rally rewards and that benefits you financially. That is so much more exciting. That’s why I’m focusing on all of this.
Social Token, Business, And Personal Wellbeing
The next question is, “How has creating a social token affected your ability to grow your content business while pursuing your well-being and alternative interests?” They created this question for me. They’re going to be interviewing a few people. I love it. I have to think this out more. I only have a few notes so far. Number one is that it is shifting things where it’s not about getting a ton of followers. That has been very detrimental to my mental health. It’s this constant striving to get more people to follow me, like my content, comment and engage.
All of that stuff is exhausting. It’s not easy. It has encouraged me to go in directions that weren’t in alignment for me, to burn out because I’m working all the time, to alter my image so that I can try to look more visually pleasing to people because that seems to get more engaged engagement and to do things that didn’t feel good. I was doing them to get attention and essentially money. I don’t want to be part of that anymore.
It’s not just me either. The white paper that I mentioned about the independent creator gets into detail about this. Rally was built on this belief that creators and their communities are creating something together that is unique and powerful. It’s because I’ve been building that with you already on this show and for many years with the rest of my work in the content world that we should be keeping that connection and not making it about growing all the time.
The reason my community is called Beyond Measure is that I don’t want it to be about how many followers I have or you have, how either one of us looks, how much money we make, where we’re from, what we look like and on and on. All these external measurements are not what I care about. What I’ve always cared about and what I’m working on bringing into all parts of my work is that deep connection based on our inherent worth and value to one another. That value is based on our hearts, souls, passion, purpose, knowledge and skills that we can offer. That’s what makes up a community to me.
There have always been issues with communities in human history but sometimes I think back to the days in which people bartered their services instead of paying for things. That sounds cool. I’ve always been drawn to that. What would a moneyless society be like? Ironically, I’m on a platform that is based on financial interests for everybody but I’m not that interested in making money from it. I just like the idea of circulating money among people because to me, it’s the current version of that. We’re all part of something.
We can pay our bills, support ourselves and do things that we enjoy. Money helps us get that but it’s ultimately coming down to how are we offering value to people alongside feeling financially stable. Money is a big part of our well-being. We can’t deny that. I want to emphasize that my goal of helping people feel included, making things fair, equalizing things and democratizing them is tied to the fact that I believe that you too should be compensated for your value. I believe that you deserve some reward for reading this show. If I’m going to benefit from creating a show, why shouldn’t you?
Without you, a show like mine doesn’t have a lot of value truly. The big podcasters out there would completely crumble if they didn’t have listeners because their listeners are the way that they get sponsors. That’s how most podcasts monetize. I would like to move away from that, do less, maybe cut out sponsors and focus on this Rally platform because collectively, with all of us being part of something, we can reach some financial stability together. It’s not that easy. I’m also always going to be transparent with you that I’m not guaranteeing everything.
This is never meant to be an MLM. I’m taking a cautious approach to positioning that way. It’s the idea that we could all benefit. That’s what I’m after. I still have to learn a lot about how exactly that works. This is also not to say that it’s some utopian vision for society and that it’s so perfect and easy. I don’t think so. These are the benefits of it but that doesn’t mean that there are not going to be some drawbacks. I also think there are going to be a lot of shifts and changes. There will be people taking advantage of others alongside all of this.
We have been so set up in this capitalistic world society or time that we’re in to view everything as an opportunity to make money. I value money for our well-being because we need money to pay for housing, food, water and clothing. All our basic needs require money for the most part. We need to get it from somewhere. I’m not in alignment with people who have more than enough and then start taking advantage of other people to get even more. It doesn’t make me feel very good. Some people enjoy that. Some people are okay with that. Money is very complicated.
I’m not a financialist. I still have a lot of ignorance about how things are structured. I’m not shaming anyone who views life through that but because I’ve been on the mental health side of things and knew how burnt out I’ve become trying to hustle all the time to make more money, it doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t want to live in a world where I always have to hustle to pay my bills and take advantage of people to make more money for something that I don’t need. Ideally, we would have more equality. This is where I still have a lot of growth and knowledge to build. It’s certainly not simple.
How Web3 Can Change The Wellness Industry
There are two more questions here before I wrap up. “How might Web3 and blockchain evolve or change the wellness industry?” This is very exciting for me. This is becoming my big passion in this space beyond the community side of things. It’s understanding better how to support people’s well-being throughout all the technology and business changes that we’re going through. I took a few notes here. One is this amazing woman in the Web3 space who’s worth following on Twitter. Her name is Li Jin. She wrote an article with Katie Parrott.
There’s a great quote that says, “For the last decade, we have lived in a period in which ownership has been concentrated among a few centralized technology platforms, which owns the data, end-user relationships and the means of distributing and monetizing content. While user-generated content creation exploded during this period, it also caused a reliance on a handful of new gatekeepers, widespread burnout and economic unsustainability for the vast majority of creators.”
That is why we need to prioritize well-being and focus on the things that I’ve mentioned here when we’re in this Web3 space and transitioning into it. I hope that creators and their communities do not experience as much burnout and economic sustainability and also don’t have to deal with all these gatekeepers and these people that are taking advantage of them, controlling all of the data and taking a huge cut of the money. Well-being is tied into all of that because none of those things make us feel good. They have caused massive mental health issues for content creators.
There’s a ripple effect to the people who are consuming the content too. Secondly, one of the key challenges facing influencers and content creators is income volatility because many of us need to constantly produce new content and/or increase our visibility to generate revenue. “By creating investment vehicles in their name, creators and artists can hedge against a sudden unpredictable loss of income as well as decrease their dependence on platforms like Instagram, YouTube or Twitch where they currently make most of their money.”A lot of content creators are making everything up. A lot of content creators are repeating what somebody else said that was made up. Click To Tweet
That came from this article by Mercedes Bent called Creator Coins & the Future of Income. Income ties into our well-being. This is why things have become a bit out of hand. I spend a lot of time reflecting on, examining and researching the creator industry and the creator economy as it’s called. I see how so many people that started creating content out of a desire to connect end up getting so caught up in the monetization side of it that they’re not even themselves anymore. I’ve seen people who fall into this world because it feels good on the ego.
It feels good to get likes, get attention and feel validated. I certainly felt that but it also feels bad when you feel like you’re faking it all the time. Nobody knows who you are. It feels bad when you don’t get the likes that you want, when your followers suddenly disappear and when the algorithm changes on a platform and suddenly, you’re not getting as much exposure. The mental health roller coaster that most creators have been on for years is not good. The white paper I keep mentioning outlines it well. I’m hoping that the way social tokens are set up can change based on everything that I’ve said.
Lastly, there’s a quote from Tiffany Zhong, who said, “Democratizing access means that everyone, not just a select few, will have the same opportunity to build.” Inclusivity is so key. I also want to make some notes. Something that I need to think more about is the wellness industry. I’m already seeing some brands create NFTs, private memberships and build communities. That’s changing a lot of things. Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. There are a lot of money-grabs happening and people trying to capitalize on all the new cryptocurrency developments and NFTs. That makes me nervous.
We have to be very cautious when it comes to money and wellness because they are part of each other but if somebody feels like they have to spend money to feel well, that can be dangerous. A lot of companies have taken advantage of people by saying, “Buy my product and you’re going to get all these results.” This is another reason why I started to step away from the influencer world. It’s like my work with Eco-Vegan Gal. I was sometimes falling into that trap of promoting diets and certain foods and doing all this stuff.
When I look at it, I think, “Was I sharing information with people that was detrimental to them?” I try hard not to do this on this show but I may still inadvertently do it here. It is tough. That’s why I’m committed to transparency and community. This is one of the big things too. The community element of it takes a lot of my power away. That’s a good thing. Influencers, content creators and people in the wellness space have been following this model of power. It’s like, “Listen to me. I’m the expert. Watch me. I know what I’m doing. Learn from me. I’m the teacher.”
We get into this mode of the audience. What naturally starts to happen is we see them in this leadership role and trust them but not everybody in the wellness world, especially on the content creation side, is trustworthy. A lot of content creators are making everything up and repeating what somebody else said that was made up. They’re not researching. They’re not doctors or scientists. These are people that are guessing and swearing that you will get the same results if you do the same thing as them. That’s incredibly dangerous physically and mentally.
I’ve tried to step away from that. I don’t think it’s good. I’ve had to work on how I phrase things. Even as I’ve been talking about Web3, I want to acknowledge every step of the way that I’m new to this. I’m not an expert. I don’t have it all figured out. This is evolving. A lot of these things are ideas. We are in this together. That’s my goal. That’s why I want that community element. The community keeps coming back around because the answers to me lay or lie. The answers are in the community. I want to empower you to call me out, share your thoughts on things and be part of the conversation.
I might not always agree with you. I encourage you to be kind. I will not deal with disrespectful people. I had to go through a lot of that in my career. Some people want to say that I am wrong. That’s not the environment that I want. The environment I want is when you say, “I listened to what you said. I would like to share a different perspective. I tried what you tried. It didn’t work for me but this did. Do you want to try that too?”
It’s where we truly listen to one another and contribute kindly. We move our egos away as much as we possibly can. I don’t know if that’s fully ever possible but say, “I’m not doing this for me, make myself feel good or get attention. I’m doing this because I believe in the community. I want everybody to feel good. I want to learn from you as much as I want to teach you.” That’s where the evolution could head with this. Lastly, Rally asked, “What would you tell someone skeptical about social tokens and NFTs?”
Do your research. If you’re at the end of this show saying, “I don’t know if I trust Whitney,” that’s okay. I don’t want you to trust me completely because I don’t have all the answers. You can research, start with the articles, follow people on Twitter, watch videos on YouTube, go to conferences if you’re into it and listen to other podcasts. I did a deep dive into Web3 podcasts for one of my clients. If you would like other podcasts about Web3, I will refer you to them. You can start with my show, Web3 with Whitney but that’s me again.
If you want to know other podcasts I have researched, I will share them. I haven’t listened to a lot of them. The only one I can share with complete confidence is called NFT 365. That’s hosted by my friend, Brian Fanzo. He’s awesome. He has been a content creator for a long time. He has ADHD and a neurodivergent as well. He’s a good guy. He talks about NFTs but oftentimes there will be elements of his content that incorporate other elements of Web3.
He’s also on Rally. You can hear more about Rally from him too. Talk to other people, listen to other people, learn from other people and then start building up your knowledge base so that you can share it too. If we are truly in a community, we’re passing around the knowledge and everybody is contributing. I hope that you are contributing too. I hope that you feel inspired, uplifted and excited about this instead of feeling overwhelmed. If you do feel overwhelmed, that’s okay.
That’s normal and natural when we’re doing new things and talking about change and transition. My goal is to guide you through that. That’s where this show is. Beyond Measure is there for you at any point. If you want to dive into the community I’ve been developing, there’s a link to it or you can go to WhitneyLauritsen.com where I have a link to Beyond Measure there. I would love to reward you with Rally. I’m also working on a way to reward newsletter subscribers if you want to sign up for the newsletter for this.
I’m trying to find out everywhere I can reward. I would love to reward you. If you have not found a place where you feel comfortable, send me a message or an email. I’ll send you some rewards depending on when you read. You could be reading this years later, hopefully. If that’s the case, hopefully Rally is still around and I’m still doing Beyond Measure. Everything can be timely. Messaging me is always the best way. I would love to hear from you and support you however I can. That is my big aim.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope this was helpful and at least interesting to you. When you read this episode if it is the week of May 2nd, 2022, I will be at that event. You can check out social media. I will share more episodes on what I’ve learned and whatever else you’re curious about. Ask me and send me a Twitter message, an Instagram DM or however it feels easiest for you. I am here. I am listening and grateful for you. Thank you. I’ll be back again with another guest episode.
- @WhitLauritsen – Instagram
- Air Miles
- Web3 with Whitney
- Episode – Past episode on Web3 with Whitney – YouTube
- Amy’s Kitchen
- Jack Conte
- Wellevatr – Patreon
- Eco-Vegan Gal – Patreon
- @Rex_Woodbury – Twitter
- Brendan Gahan
- Beyond Measure
- Li Jin – Twitter
- Article – The Web3 Renaissance: A Golden Age for Content
- From Dependence to Independence: The Rise of the Independent Creator
- Creator Coins & the Future of Income
- Tiffany Zhong
- NFT 365
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