I will follow you in the dark...

Exploring rites of passage in modern online communities

Happy weekend friends 💖 

Welcome to Create Your Rainbow - a newsletter to help unleash your community's creativity. 🌈

In this newsletter, I share thoughts, insights, and musings. You’ll also get the latest weekly Cloud Scouts updates. I share behind-the-scenes with Inner Colors members!

Last week I discussed how modern online communities journey into liminal spaces to create a sense of belonging through communitas. This week we’ll introduce rites of passage and how online communities like Cloud Scouts can enhance this sense of advancement and exploration.

Down The Rabbit Hole 🕳️ 🐇 

The three phases of rites of passage are described by three distinctive markers observed in cultures by anthropologist Arnold van Gennep in his classic work “Les rites de passage,” we discussed last week:

Separation: is a phase of detachment from the familiar in preparation for something new and different. This might be symbolized by a leaving behind Twitter in favor of Lens or Farcaster.

Transition: the liminal state we discussed brings a sense of leaping into the unknown, with lots of ambiguity and uncertainty. There’s uncertainty with trying out a new social network - who knows if it’ll take off, but early adopters try them out anyway despite the ambiguity.

Reintegration: or the integration phase, is symbolized by obtaining a new role or status in a community or space. For Cloud Scouts, this is marked by a celebration when a Scout moves into a new role like Scribe, Designer, or Facilitator. They are awarded a new badge at a virtual ceremony and introduced to their patrol members.

Take a look at Boys Club for an example. The way they’ve written about DAO operations with the launch of Season 2 is totally inspiring.

A Scout’s Adventure Into The Unknown

This week I had the pleasure of being part of the Backdrop Demo Squad (if you’re not in Backdrop yet, reply and I’ll send you an invite) to tell the Scout journey through our community and how we utilize rites of passage to send members on a personalized adventure.

Diving deeper into last week’s issue, let’s talk about these traditions, rituals, and ceremonies that make up our culture and how traditional rites of passage have influenced modern online communities.

Rank advancements in traditional scouting structures.

This chart shows the rites of passage teens take through the Girl Scouts and BSA ecosystem in traditional scouting organizations. These have been established to provide a sense of communitas through over a century’s worth of adventure and exploration.

Once Scouts BSA members reach sixth grade, they take an individual journey through the ranks they can explore independently. They move through these ranks by completing service projects, fundraisers, and merit badges.

Scouts are honored at in-person ceremonies creating an established, consistent culture of belonging. This can and should be explored in modern online communities and is precisely why we implement this evolution at Cloud Scouts. We’re imagining these scouting aspects into a new internet culture focused on inclusive, human-centered design that gives members a clear role to play within the troop.

Traditional scouting ceremonies explained.

It’s important that web3 communities incorporate relatable traditions and rituals that are playful yet built into onchain experiences. This provides a sense of ownership, beyond just data, in a new medium of personalized adventure that members truly feel they are part of.

Evolution of Online Rituals

Inventing new rituals and traditions for creative onchain experiences brings new challenges we’ll continue exploring together.

It’s my belief that onboarding into a community by answering a series of questions, retweeting, earning points, or simply filling out a form worked fine for a while.

But as founders and community builders, we should challenge ourselves to think beyond these established models.

For example, when an established community member decides to move on and graduate from a space, they could be awarded a dynamic celebratory NFT that updates daily for a week with messages or artwork from community members. Exit rituals are just as important as onboarding rituals!

Looking Forward To Onchain Rites

Consider the composability of NFTs and new explorations into tokenbound accounts through use cases like ERC-6551 from the folks who brought us the ERC-721 standard. This flips the soulbound idea on its head by turning an NFT into its own digital backpack.

This rite may look like a continual adventure adding items to a virtual garment like a uniform, where badges are collected onto a single main NFT that holds them all together like digital threads. 🧵 

Or maybe you decide, as a Patrol Leader of an onchain native scout troop or DAO, that decisions are awarded to an NFT, signaling a member’s activity. This creates provenance in the community, forming a solid identity that can be viewed through a dApp or integrated into emerging media layers.

These hyperstructures (we love a Jacob reference, seriously, read the article) enable onchain futures that are “free, expansive, unstoppable, permissionless and credibly neutral—Hyperstructures create a positive sum environment”.

We are imagining new social futures together.

Go forth 🫵 





Your weekly source of all things upcoming with our lovely Scouts.

Troop Chat updates!  💖 

Sign up for all sessions here. All are welcome to join us!

This Thursday, we’ll get together to expand on our last session to continue crafting brand voices created for the characters we designed.

Exploring Spatial Worlds! 🏕️ 

On weeks of no Troop Chat, Scout Sarah will take us on adventures to explore virtual worlds in Spatial and other platforms. She’s our very own Ms. Frizzle! This week we held our first exploration in Spatial to academic worlds and meditation spaces and went on fashion quests.

Meet us by our campfire in Spatial and sign up for the event series here.

Join us again by the campfire in two weeks 🫡 

Scout Spotlights  

And remember, I believe in you. 💖 🥺

Pride Month continues, and I’m hosting another HUGE event this year.

An all-day fundraiser to support direct action for the LGBTQIA+ community in web3 on Twitter Spaces showcasing queer excellence!

Just like celebrity Telethons, we’ll entertain and educate folks all day on Tuesday the 27th, so come out to support us!

Want to donate early? Vist our Juicebox page!

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