Thoughts on Farcaster

My Twitter account is old enough to drive.

Granted, it’s just a learner’s permit, but still.

That’s older than most web3 founders. (I kid, I kid.)

I remember when Twitter users were called Tweeple. And we had Tweetups. And the ecosystem was open. And the API was useful. And builders were aplenty. And Tweetie, TweetBird, and TweetDeck were independent clients that we all loved and used. The value-over-vanity mindset.

And the momentum. The joy. The this-is-special feeling.

And that exact feeling that is now gone from Twitter…I get from the Farcaster community.

I didn’t get it from Clubhouse.

I didn’t get it from Paparazzi.

I don’t get it from BeReal.

It’s obvious to me that they’re proverbial pan flashes.

But I see it in Farcaster…and that’s what worries me.

If we’ve collectively been just looking for a Twitter replacement, why didn’t anyone jump ship to or Mastodon? (answer: tech personalities aren’t on Mastodon), but another question surfaces: what’s to prevent Farcaster-as-Twitter from inheriting the same problems of scale? The spam, the clowns, the trolls, the dilution of signal, the increase of noise.

Of course, these are concerns that have been brought up before, and ones that I know both Dan and Varun are well-aware of as thoughtful builders in the space…but it honestly doesn’t matter.

I’m not worried about Farcaster even if/when the purple app does inherit these problems. Why?

Because the real power of Farcaster isn’t as a decentralized Twitter clone app; the real power is the protocol.

Don’t get me wrong: the purple app is crucial to seeding the network and showing what can be done with it. But the most exciting thing about Farcaster are the apps that haven’t been built yet. With every micro-app launch, we get a closer glimpse of what’s possible.

From @greg’s SearchCaster, to Farcaster News from @kn, to Perl from @ace and @peterkim, it’s cool to see other folks building on top of the content generated by casts.

But we’ve yet to see new and interesting ways to generate casts.

Here’s an interesting thought to ponder: to date, we’ve really only seen the purple app broadcast casts to the network. Other broadcast apps will come.

I’m fascinated by the idea that casts !== tweets.

What else can they be? Insta posts? Public community messages? News bulletins?

I believe that Farcaster’s longevity will be defined not by the purple app, but by the community’s ability to utilize the protocol in new, interesting, and valuable ways: both consumption and production.

Twitter has long been a platform looking for a product.

I truly believe that the product whiplash within their API ecosystem has done more damage to their reach than not having an edit button or spam accounts or clear censorship policies.

So why has Twitter not focused on building a platform and instead looking to build a product?

Frankly: they’ve had to. Because Twitter is a Web 2.0 business and needs to make money from productization.

Twitter is a platform without a product.

Farcaster’s different.

Since the protocol is the main thing, Farcaster is a platform as a product, which is very different.

And that’s why I’m not worried about the purple app at scale. Because there will be other apps that use the protocol in new and interesting ways. The blue app. The green app. The yellow app. The orange app.

The pink app.

September 26, 2022