If we live in an attention economy, then the currency of that economy is media.
There has been much discussion around collecting media as digital objects, primarily around the lines of “collect is the new like”. While this is interesting, it is also fruitful to view media not as the object itself, but instead as the vehicle for digital objects.
Media can take many forms, but on the internet it is primarily text, audio and video, encompassing a range of outputs such as articles, podcasts, video essays, and everything in between. Taking hold in many contexts, these pieces of media drive attention to an idea, and often drive those who read, watch, or listen to them to action. These same methods which drive someone to buy a t-shirt they saw online can be employed to even greater effect as an introduction to a digital object.
Media provides a means to frame an object. As digital objects often represent nascent categories of collectibles and items, these frames can be beneficial by providing the viewer with the context to understand an object, and the language to value it. For this reason media is most useful, not as an analysis or exploration after the fact, but as a context rich initial presentation which can convince viewers of the value in an asset.
In the case of culture and crypto, the two primary forms of value are emotional and monetary. Emotional value can be found from reading an interview or watching a video, it comes when something resonates with us and we get a particular feeling from it. Monetary value is far more practical, involving how much we’re willing to pay for something, or how much someone else will. Ultimately both of these forms together define our relationship with a digital object, deciding whether we want to hold onto it forever or let it go, and if so, for how much.
In the real world Bright Moments is an excellent example of how an experience can build emotional value around a digital object. Online, PleasrHouse presents its auctions via a 1-hour live streamed variety show, complete with interviews, documentaries, and segments about the digital object being auctioned. The production quality of both of these experiences gives an ideal environment to introduce someone to the particular digital object, and frames it in their mind after the fact, adding to the monetary and emotional value.
The primary shortcoming of the design of most release experiences is the lack of this context. These experiences clearly show the object in question and the mechanism to buy it, but lack the experience that would convince anyone to do so who wasn’t already familiar with the piece in question.
When we are introduced to an object within a story, we construct a narrative in our mind as to why it is or isn’t personally meaningful and economically valuable. These pieces of media help build a core foundation of understanding and recognition for their objects for the long term, while making the decision to collect smoother for those first hearing about them. This effect becomes particularly strong when the media is evergreen and can be referred to for years to come, continually selling the object, conceptually or literally.
Different types of digital objects each require their own unique forms of presentation, and the affordances of the internet and the blockchain make the possibilities of these experiences increasingly accessible, creating networked objects with shared stories and communities using existing structures for digital content that audiences are familiar with.
Let’s present digital objects in video premieres, game shows, podcasts, and every other interesting way we can think of. Meet people where they are, tell them a good story, and let them collect something they’ll hold close to their heart, whether it’s obscenely expensive or not.