What is Web 3.0? (And how to get ready for it)

What is Web 3.0? (And how to get ready for it)

9 minute read

What is Web 3.0? (And how to get ready for it)

9 minute read

What is Web 3.0? (And how to get ready for it)

Fi Shailes

Senior social media marketer and content writer

Table of contents

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

This is a summary of our webinar ‘Demystifying The Metaverse: The Hype-free Guide To Getting Ready for Web 3.0’, which was hosted by Content Strategist Noz Urbina.

Noz specializes in omnichannel content strategy and design, and has over two decades of experience in structured content solutions.

The webinar explored the advent of Web 3.0, how we got here, what it means to be part of the Metaverse, and — as content people — what we should be thinking about in preparation for Web 3.0.

Noz took us on a journey from Web 1.0 — a ‘read-only’ experience for users — to the here and now; where content constitutes much more than publishing words and users reading them. In fact, it’s transforming how we consume content, interact with others, and tackle ordinary tasks such as training other people.

In this article, we’ve included some of Noz’s slides for context, as well as some key quotes from the webinar.

Web 3.0: How did we get here?

To understand Web 3.0, we need to take a step back and recognize how we got to this juncture.

For many years, the web was really only about documents, links, and searching. That was it. That, in essence, was ‘Web 1.0’.

In essence, you could post a web page, and then link around that webpage to other web pages. Webpages were static and essentially a 'broadcast' of information, but that, in itself, was a huge event at the time. We could type in our searches, and could then jump around between documents on sites originating from anywhere in the world.

An image of a pizza restaurant webpage from the Web 1.0 period
During the Web 1.0 period, a typical example of a webpage — like this pizza restaurant site — was read-only

For over a decade, websites were pretty much just 'read-only' (like print) — all but for a few hyperlinks here and there.

The problem with this is that any organization that had the resource and skills to build a website could only publish content — there was no means for two-way communication. Building relationships was hard.

Web 2.0 emerged when the web evolved into something more. We started having ideas about creating identities, and began seeing websites where a user stopped being a data point.

We were still typing in our searches and reading of course, but the medium started to accept input too. Now, we could actually register for a profile or account and have a voice ourselves. It meant that a formerly ‘anonymous user’ now had an online identity.

Now we're all publishers, we can all have followers, and we can all get our voice out there.

We’re heading towards a ‘post-search’ world

If there’s one thing that we learned from Noz’s talk, it’s that when it comes to online habits, even though much is still evolving around us — we're still searching, we're still reading screens, and we're still typing.

Usability and user experience will always march toward human ergonomics; that is, what is comfortable for our brains and bodies. ‘Searching’ the web is just not the most intuitive way of getting information for us; typing words or even saying words (even though using our voice is more natural than typing) to create some kind of query for a certain system in order to get an answer.

Back in 2014, The New York Times’ Innovation Report — a document meant for internal use originally, and pulled together by seven journalists who were charged with asking big questions about the Times’ digital strategy — recognized that user behaviors were moving to a ‘post-search world’.

A slide with an image of the New York Times Innovation report
Even back in 2014, people wanted content to come to them as opposed to having to seek it out as this slide extract from the webinar highlights.

It was their belief that users would soon be expecting worthwhile content to come to them; rather than the onus being on users to seek that content out.  

How would it come to them? Through feeds, recommended content, alerts, subscriptions… Just signaling ‘this is what I am interested in’ or ‘x and y is relevant to me’ upfront results in content matching those criteria being served up to the user.

The content and data world has exploded since then. You only have to look at the surge in martech organizations to get a basic idea of exactly how much it's exploded.

Just a few years before the New York Times report, in 2011, Scott Brinker, editor of the chiefmartec.com blog, first published a map of the marketing technology landscape.

A map showing 150 martech vendor logos from 2011
Scott Brinker's map of the marketing technology landscape in 2011 was already beginning to house many solutions and categories.

At that time, it contained around 150 vendors. Fast forward a decade, and due to demand causing a 'gluttony of supply', we are now faced with a landscape of over 8,000 martech solutions from around the globe.

A map with 8,000 martech vendor logos from 2020
Nowadays, the breadth of solutions and categories in Scott Brinker's map of the marketing technology landscape from 2020 is positively overwhelming.
Good to Know: Creating 'good content’ can give your organization a very clear competitive advantage. Read GatherContent Co-founder Angus Edwardson's take on the challenges faced by brands attempting to do exactly that.

This takes us to Web 3.0. Web 3.0 is where the web becomes user-controlled, composable, and immersive. This is sometimes also referred to as 'the Semantic Web'.

"The Semantic Web is not a separate Web, but an extension of the current one, in which information is given well-defined meaning; better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation." — Tim Berners-Lee
A diagram with Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0 in boxes
'Ancient web history' as described in its simplest form by Noz Urbina, where the journey from Web 1.0 to Web 3.0 becomes ever more engaging.
"There's an enormous amount of hype around Web 3.0. We're entering a new hype cycle which hasn't even really hit yet, as a wave."
Noz Urbina
Founder, OmnichannelX.digital

Back to the future

Let me bring your attention to another point Noz highlighted in the webinar, and that is: talking about and trying to predict the future is hard when you’re trying to think what the future of the web really looks like.

This is because we tend to default to constructing any vision of our future using today's parameters.

For example, this cover of Byte Magazine from 1981 suggests what the future of computing might be:

The front cover of Byte Magazine which shows a wrist computer with a floppy disk being inserted
It's all about parameters. In 1981, it was difficult to imagine a future of technology without floppy disks.

It might be something we’d laugh at now (notice the floppy disk at the side of the watch).

As Noz points out in his talk, however, our thinking at the time was that, 'yes, we can have a tiny computer on our wrist, but because it’s 1981, there’s still an assumption that you’d have to slide a disk into it'.

Equally, if we were going to try to think up a piece of new technology in 2022, we would no doubt think about it whilst applying what we know about the technological environment we live in today.

This is so fundamental to the way that we approach any new technology. In other words, it's very hard for us to envision something until someone shows us the ‘art of the possible’.

So, for example, the Internet of Things (IoT) is, to a great extent, already with us. It's one of the first Web 3.0 phenomena we've all started to participate in.

Don't think so? Think of voice assistance, smartwatches, assisted parking in cars, and so on. It’s integrated into our daily lives, and we don’t give it a second thought now it’s in existence and available to us.

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it." — Mark Weiser, Chief Scientist at Xerox PARC

We could soon be living in a digital world where social media stars and influencers share fewer photographs and flat video content, and instead, actually start to transport you into their world using Web 3.0 technologies; perhaps letting you walk around and explore the very environment they're standing in.

Experts predict that social media will definitely develop the ability to support this kind of content experience, sooner or later.

And Web 3.0 is already unlocking new ways for content to be used when it comes to, for example, training multiple people to use complex systems or equipment at work — especially equipment used in perilous environments.

For example, an organization might need to train 40 rail engineers, but it’s clearly not viable to allow someone new, let alone 40 people, to wander around railway lines because of the obvious health and safety risks.

That’s where training with virtual reality that utilizes Web 3.0 has been of great use.

https://fb.watch/d3yuJTv1VR/

Web 3.0 technologies: Key concepts to understand

Blockchain (aka ‘trustless’ system)

Blockchain refers to a system that is trusted over trusting individuals.

So, for example, instead of having to worry about whether you're managing someone else’s information well, because the system is shared by everybody, and is visible to everybody, everyone can trust that one system implicitly. That is what a blockchain is - it’s a form of distributed ledger.

It’s most well-known in association with cryptocurrency, but it can also be used for the buying and selling of digital collectibles, for example.

NFT

NFT, which stands for ‘non-fungible token’ is a financial security consisting of digital data stored in a blockchain. Ownership of an NFT is recorded in the blockchain and can be transferred by the owner. This allows NFTs to be sold and traded with transparency.

Noz described them as ‘digital collectibles’, which is a simpler way to understand the concept. In this clip, he explains what NFT means in the context of Coca Cola Collectables:

Semantic content and data

In the context of the web, ‘semantic’ simply translates as ‘meaningfully tagged’. It’s structured data, and Google is a master at using this in its search results for users.

In the example below, we can see that Google is using related content to the search for ‘Wonder Park’ to display key related information as results — such as the film trailer, showtimes at a local cinema, cast details, a synopsis of the film, plus some industry reviews.

A Google search results page with information about the film Wonder Park
A quick search for 'Wonder Park' reveals multiple nuggets of useful information for the user.

💡See also: Content 101: How to use Structured Content to Save Time and Reduce Effort

IoT

IoT is mostly already with us. It describes a network of physical objects where each one  is embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.

Augmented reality (AR) / Virtual reality (VR) / Extended reality (XR)

Like IoT, AR, VR, and XR have been coming for quite a long time. For example, many of us use car parking assistance through an AR function native to our cars. It works so well, that we don't even think about it anymore.

Google Maps is another example of AR, where an overlay of key information and/or data is added to regular map views by Google.

The Metaverse

The Metaverse is an example of VR in action. It's a shared, open world that offers access to virtual 3D spaces and environments created by its users.

"The internet was the linking of pages. The Metaverse is the linking of virtual worlds."
Noz Urbina
Founder, OmnichannelX.digital

Take a look at this Metaverse demo from the webinar:

XR is simply an umbrella term that covers VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR).

Digital Twins

“A digital twin is a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical object.” — IBM definition

Let's take the chemical plant example Noz talked through in the webinar. The chemical plant's sensors allow a computerized map to be created and remains updated with real-time information. This computerized map is the chemical plant's digital twin.

A diagram showing how a digital twin can be created for a chemical plant
There are endless uses for digital twins; managing a chemical plant being just one.

Once live, the digital twin can be used to help control the day-to-day functions of the plant. It can also be used for simulations (for example, for training purposes), and investigating 'what if' scenarios for crisis planning purposes ("what if a leak was to happen at the plant?").

"The idea of digital twinning is so powerful. It’s immersive, emotional, memorable storytelling. Where we're going with this is, it's a whole new world."
Noz Urbina
Founder, OmnichannelX.digital

Web 3.0 and the customer experience

All of these Web 3.0-related technologies mean that, ultimately we have to ensure our organization's technology and thinking (as well as our own) aligns with customer experience.

A diagram showing the relationship between customer journey, strategy, and Web 3.0 related factors
There will be far more to take into account for content people with Web 3.0.

As content people, we need to be considering aspects like:

  • Where we can add value
  • How we can break down working silos in order to access the very broad skillset this kind of world requires (i.e. it’s not so much about specialized teams)
"You know, for me to share something on WhatsApp involves 12 brands; it's software provider, the OS of my phone, the phone itself, my internet service provider… there are so many things involved in these modern experiences, we can't do them in just one little team."
Noz Urbina
Founder, OmnichannelX.digital
  • How we can govern all this stuff in an omnichannel way
  • How we can make such a complex environment manageable by:
  • Our organization's Web 3.0 tech stack:
  • Microservices
  • APIs
  • Cloud-Native
  • Headless
A slide describing each of the MACH related technologies in more detail
MACH is what will really power Web 3.0 and the Metaverse.

Web 3.0 will become a technology that eventually "disappears"

Do you remember the Mark Weiser quote from earlier?

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear..."

When we think about how long it takes us to adopt digital technologies and adapt things for the web, we can look at content as an example. It has arguably taken 15 to 20 years for many organizations to notice the importance of content, and make it a priority and concern.

With technology like the Metaverse, you could imagine that the adoption might be a little faster, but in reality, it will probably still take much longer than it should. The barrier comes when users don’t understand how something like the Metaverse really applies to them — and in what ways it could add or extract value for them.

Noz believes that it’s only when leading brands and voices come forward with relatable case studies that user understanding on a large scale will start to accelerate.

I'll leave you with this quote from Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web:

"The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past." — Tim Berners-Lee

This is a summary of our webinar ‘Demystifying The Metaverse: The Hype-free Guide To Getting Ready for Web 3.0’, which was hosted by Content Strategist Noz Urbina.

Noz specializes in omnichannel content strategy and design, and has over two decades of experience in structured content solutions.

The webinar explored the advent of Web 3.0, how we got here, what it means to be part of the Metaverse, and — as content people — what we should be thinking about in preparation for Web 3.0.

Noz took us on a journey from Web 1.0 — a ‘read-only’ experience for users — to the here and now; where content constitutes much more than publishing words and users reading them. In fact, it’s transforming how we consume content, interact with others, and tackle ordinary tasks such as training other people.

In this article, we’ve included some of Noz’s slides for context, as well as some key quotes from the webinar.

Web 3.0: How did we get here?

To understand Web 3.0, we need to take a step back and recognize how we got to this juncture.

For many years, the web was really only about documents, links, and searching. That was it. That, in essence, was ‘Web 1.0’.

In essence, you could post a web page, and then link around that webpage to other web pages. Webpages were static and essentially a 'broadcast' of information, but that, in itself, was a huge event at the time. We could type in our searches, and could then jump around between documents on sites originating from anywhere in the world.

An image of a pizza restaurant webpage from the Web 1.0 period
During the Web 1.0 period, a typical example of a webpage — like this pizza restaurant site — was read-only

For over a decade, websites were pretty much just 'read-only' (like print) — all but for a few hyperlinks here and there.

The problem with this is that any organization that had the resource and skills to build a website could only publish content — there was no means for two-way communication. Building relationships was hard.

Web 2.0 emerged when the web evolved into something more. We started having ideas about creating identities, and began seeing websites where a user stopped being a data point.

We were still typing in our searches and reading of course, but the medium started to accept input too. Now, we could actually register for a profile or account and have a voice ourselves. It meant that a formerly ‘anonymous user’ now had an online identity.

Now we're all publishers, we can all have followers, and we can all get our voice out there.

We’re heading towards a ‘post-search’ world

If there’s one thing that we learned from Noz’s talk, it’s that when it comes to online habits, even though much is still evolving around us — we're still searching, we're still reading screens, and we're still typing.

Usability and user experience will always march toward human ergonomics; that is, what is comfortable for our brains and bodies. ‘Searching’ the web is just not the most intuitive way of getting information for us; typing words or even saying words (even though using our voice is more natural than typing) to create some kind of query for a certain system in order to get an answer.

Back in 2014, The New York Times’ Innovation Report — a document meant for internal use originally, and pulled together by seven journalists who were charged with asking big questions about the Times’ digital strategy — recognized that user behaviors were moving to a ‘post-search world’.

A slide with an image of the New York Times Innovation report
Even back in 2014, people wanted content to come to them as opposed to having to seek it out as this slide extract from the webinar highlights.

It was their belief that users would soon be expecting worthwhile content to come to them; rather than the onus being on users to seek that content out.  

How would it come to them? Through feeds, recommended content, alerts, subscriptions… Just signaling ‘this is what I am interested in’ or ‘x and y is relevant to me’ upfront results in content matching those criteria being served up to the user.

The content and data world has exploded since then. You only have to look at the surge in martech organizations to get a basic idea of exactly how much it's exploded.

Just a few years before the New York Times report, in 2011, Scott Brinker, editor of the chiefmartec.com blog, first published a map of the marketing technology landscape.

A map showing 150 martech vendor logos from 2011
Scott Brinker's map of the marketing technology landscape in 2011 was already beginning to house many solutions and categories.

At that time, it contained around 150 vendors. Fast forward a decade, and due to demand causing a 'gluttony of supply', we are now faced with a landscape of over 8,000 martech solutions from around the globe.

A map with 8,000 martech vendor logos from 2020
Nowadays, the breadth of solutions and categories in Scott Brinker's map of the marketing technology landscape from 2020 is positively overwhelming.
Good to Know: Creating 'good content’ can give your organization a very clear competitive advantage. Read GatherContent Co-founder Angus Edwardson's take on the challenges faced by brands attempting to do exactly that.

This takes us to Web 3.0. Web 3.0 is where the web becomes user-controlled, composable, and immersive. This is sometimes also referred to as 'the Semantic Web'.

"The Semantic Web is not a separate Web, but an extension of the current one, in which information is given well-defined meaning; better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation." — Tim Berners-Lee
A diagram with Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0 in boxes
'Ancient web history' as described in its simplest form by Noz Urbina, where the journey from Web 1.0 to Web 3.0 becomes ever more engaging.
"There's an enormous amount of hype around Web 3.0. We're entering a new hype cycle which hasn't even really hit yet, as a wave."
Noz Urbina
Founder, OmnichannelX.digital

Back to the future

Let me bring your attention to another point Noz highlighted in the webinar, and that is: talking about and trying to predict the future is hard when you’re trying to think what the future of the web really looks like.

This is because we tend to default to constructing any vision of our future using today's parameters.

For example, this cover of Byte Magazine from 1981 suggests what the future of computing might be:

The front cover of Byte Magazine which shows a wrist computer with a floppy disk being inserted
It's all about parameters. In 1981, it was difficult to imagine a future of technology without floppy disks.

It might be something we’d laugh at now (notice the floppy disk at the side of the watch).

As Noz points out in his talk, however, our thinking at the time was that, 'yes, we can have a tiny computer on our wrist, but because it’s 1981, there’s still an assumption that you’d have to slide a disk into it'.

Equally, if we were going to try to think up a piece of new technology in 2022, we would no doubt think about it whilst applying what we know about the technological environment we live in today.

This is so fundamental to the way that we approach any new technology. In other words, it's very hard for us to envision something until someone shows us the ‘art of the possible’.

So, for example, the Internet of Things (IoT) is, to a great extent, already with us. It's one of the first Web 3.0 phenomena we've all started to participate in.

Don't think so? Think of voice assistance, smartwatches, assisted parking in cars, and so on. It’s integrated into our daily lives, and we don’t give it a second thought now it’s in existence and available to us.

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it." — Mark Weiser, Chief Scientist at Xerox PARC

We could soon be living in a digital world where social media stars and influencers share fewer photographs and flat video content, and instead, actually start to transport you into their world using Web 3.0 technologies; perhaps letting you walk around and explore the very environment they're standing in.

Experts predict that social media will definitely develop the ability to support this kind of content experience, sooner or later.

And Web 3.0 is already unlocking new ways for content to be used when it comes to, for example, training multiple people to use complex systems or equipment at work — especially equipment used in perilous environments.

For example, an organization might need to train 40 rail engineers, but it’s clearly not viable to allow someone new, let alone 40 people, to wander around railway lines because of the obvious health and safety risks.

That’s where training with virtual reality that utilizes Web 3.0 has been of great use.

https://fb.watch/d3yuJTv1VR/

Web 3.0 technologies: Key concepts to understand

Blockchain (aka ‘trustless’ system)

Blockchain refers to a system that is trusted over trusting individuals.

So, for example, instead of having to worry about whether you're managing someone else’s information well, because the system is shared by everybody, and is visible to everybody, everyone can trust that one system implicitly. That is what a blockchain is - it’s a form of distributed ledger.

It’s most well-known in association with cryptocurrency, but it can also be used for the buying and selling of digital collectibles, for example.

NFT

NFT, which stands for ‘non-fungible token’ is a financial security consisting of digital data stored in a blockchain. Ownership of an NFT is recorded in the blockchain and can be transferred by the owner. This allows NFTs to be sold and traded with transparency.

Noz described them as ‘digital collectibles’, which is a simpler way to understand the concept. In this clip, he explains what NFT means in the context of Coca Cola Collectables:

Semantic content and data

In the context of the web, ‘semantic’ simply translates as ‘meaningfully tagged’. It’s structured data, and Google is a master at using this in its search results for users.

In the example below, we can see that Google is using related content to the search for ‘Wonder Park’ to display key related information as results — such as the film trailer, showtimes at a local cinema, cast details, a synopsis of the film, plus some industry reviews.

A Google search results page with information about the film Wonder Park
A quick search for 'Wonder Park' reveals multiple nuggets of useful information for the user.

💡See also: Content 101: How to use Structured Content to Save Time and Reduce Effort

IoT

IoT is mostly already with us. It describes a network of physical objects where each one  is embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.

Augmented reality (AR) / Virtual reality (VR) / Extended reality (XR)

Like IoT, AR, VR, and XR have been coming for quite a long time. For example, many of us use car parking assistance through an AR function native to our cars. It works so well, that we don't even think about it anymore.

Google Maps is another example of AR, where an overlay of key information and/or data is added to regular map views by Google.

The Metaverse

The Metaverse is an example of VR in action. It's a shared, open world that offers access to virtual 3D spaces and environments created by its users.

"The internet was the linking of pages. The Metaverse is the linking of virtual worlds."
Noz Urbina
Founder, OmnichannelX.digital

Take a look at this Metaverse demo from the webinar:

XR is simply an umbrella term that covers VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR).

Digital Twins

“A digital twin is a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical object.” — IBM definition

Let's take the chemical plant example Noz talked through in the webinar. The chemical plant's sensors allow a computerized map to be created and remains updated with real-time information. This computerized map is the chemical plant's digital twin.

A diagram showing how a digital twin can be created for a chemical plant
There are endless uses for digital twins; managing a chemical plant being just one.

Once live, the digital twin can be used to help control the day-to-day functions of the plant. It can also be used for simulations (for example, for training purposes), and investigating 'what if' scenarios for crisis planning purposes ("what if a leak was to happen at the plant?").

"The idea of digital twinning is so powerful. It’s immersive, emotional, memorable storytelling. Where we're going with this is, it's a whole new world."
Noz Urbina
Founder, OmnichannelX.digital

Web 3.0 and the customer experience

All of these Web 3.0-related technologies mean that, ultimately we have to ensure our organization's technology and thinking (as well as our own) aligns with customer experience.

A diagram showing the relationship between customer journey, strategy, and Web 3.0 related factors
There will be far more to take into account for content people with Web 3.0.

As content people, we need to be considering aspects like:

  • Where we can add value
  • How we can break down working silos in order to access the very broad skillset this kind of world requires (i.e. it’s not so much about specialized teams)
"You know, for me to share something on WhatsApp involves 12 brands; it's software provider, the OS of my phone, the phone itself, my internet service provider… there are so many things involved in these modern experiences, we can't do them in just one little team."
Noz Urbina
Founder, OmnichannelX.digital
  • How we can govern all this stuff in an omnichannel way
  • How we can make such a complex environment manageable by:
  • Our organization's Web 3.0 tech stack:
  • Microservices
  • APIs
  • Cloud-Native
  • Headless
A slide describing each of the MACH related technologies in more detail
MACH is what will really power Web 3.0 and the Metaverse.

Web 3.0 will become a technology that eventually "disappears"

Do you remember the Mark Weiser quote from earlier?

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear..."

When we think about how long it takes us to adopt digital technologies and adapt things for the web, we can look at content as an example. It has arguably taken 15 to 20 years for many organizations to notice the importance of content, and make it a priority and concern.

With technology like the Metaverse, you could imagine that the adoption might be a little faster, but in reality, it will probably still take much longer than it should. The barrier comes when users don’t understand how something like the Metaverse really applies to them — and in what ways it could add or extract value for them.

Noz believes that it’s only when leading brands and voices come forward with relatable case studies that user understanding on a large scale will start to accelerate.

I'll leave you with this quote from Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web:

"The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past." — Tim Berners-Lee

Tagged as:

No items found.
Ready to get started?
Start your free trial now
Start free trialBook a demo
No items found.

About the author

Fi Shailes

Fi works at digital agency twogether as a Social Strategist. She specialises in all things social and content, and freelances part-time at Digital Drum.

Related posts you might like

No items found.