Last week, I shared that Mirror.xyz and other web3 writing platforms likely represent an early mover’s opportunity for writer’s looking to create an audience during the Social Token Revolution.
Since then, I’ve found a few other similar platforms, and it’s still unclear which, if any, will emerge as the winner.
I plan to continue to investigate, but I thought it might be useful if shared the actions I took last week in getting started, as well as a few initial observations I’ve had along the way.
There’s quite a bit of friction to overcome in getting started for the uninitiated, but my sense is that once you get a handle on how one of these platforms works, then they all will operate similarly, and share a lot of common language.
It sort of like once you knew how to use Myspace back in the day, it was quite easy to make the move to Facebook.
Eventually, I expect that anyone will be able to use these technologies without having to understand how the blockchain works.
It’s sort of like how the majority of people don’t understand how the HTTP protocol works for web browsers (and really has no reason to at this point.)
Here’s what I did to get started. I’ve linked to a few helpful guides and tutorials, rather than getting into the weeds of each step you’ll need to take.
I’d suggest having 1-2 hours of clear space on your calendar to give this a try if you are brand new to Crypto and wallets. If you’ve already set up a wallet, things will move much faster for you.
Be prepared for a bit of frustration and confusion, it’s all par for the course. I encourage you to stay the course with an open mind.
Created a MetaMask Wallet and Connected to Mirror
MetaMask is a web browser extension and mobile app that serves as a wallet for Ether and other tokens. It allows you to interact with decentralized applications like Mirror.
Warning: If you are doing this for the first time, make sure you save your seed recovery phrase in multiple places, as unlike with a traditional bank or website password, there is no way to recover this if you lose it.
If you already have a wallet, you can skip right to the “connect” step.
If you don’t, you’ll want to take the time to get this setup, and fund your wallet with some Ethereum (ETH), as this will be how you will pay your required Gas Fees to move through the process.
What is a gas fee?
You can think of this as the required processing fee for executing a smart contract or transaction. The transaction fee can fluctuate wildly based on supply and demand, often even within the same day.
I’d suggest putting $200-$300 worth of ETH in your MetaMask wallet to ensure you have the required funds to complete the steps. If you already use Coinbase, this is likely the easiest way to fund your MetaMask wallet. You can transfer some ETH from there.
Here’s a more in depth walkthrough around this process.
If you don’t have any wallet yet, then Coinbase is likely still the easiest way to get started purchasing cryptocurrency for most people.
Once you have your funds in place, you can connect your MetaMask wallet to Mirror.xyz.
You’ll be asked to verify your identity publicly by confirming your Twitter handle, and publicly tweeting your verification.
This felt a bit scary for some reason, but it’s all part of the process. Once you share your Twitter handle, and share the tweet, Mirror will verify your account.
Registered philippowis.eth with ENS
Once you’ve created a wallet in MetaMask, you’ll see that it consists of a long string of numbers that you have to copy/paste every time you wish to make a transaction. This can feel a bit scary, because if you get this wrong when executing a transfer, you are essentially sending monetary value into an unrecoverable black hole.
Ethereum Name Service solves this problem by giving you an easy to remember address that is associated with your wallet (sort of like a domain name).
As I understand it, you can then use this to transact on Web3 platforms.
Once you register this and connect it to your mirror.xyz account, this becomes your sharable address for linking to your content, as well as a way your audience can tip you for your contributions.
During registration, you’ll choose how many years you’d like to pay for before having to renew. I selected 5 years, as the annual fee was very nominal, while the gas fees were high (almost $150).
I figured I wouldn’t want to pay that every year, so I’d go ahead and make sure I was set for at least a few years.
My sense is this action will have a lot of practical value outside of simply testing the Mirror platform, so it felt like an ok investment.
Here’s another step by step guide for setting up ENS.
Published My First Article
After going through the technical hooks listed above, finally the payoff!
I found the publishing process to be quite easy and familiar. If you’ve ever used Medium, you’ll feel right at home.
Here’s an example of something I published on Mirror.
Here’s what your “blog page” will look like.
I was also able to add a nice “subscribe” call-to-action, and link it back to my website. I found this helpful, because as of right now, there’s no real author profile or way for people to learn more about you as a creator on the Mirror platform itself.
Currently, there is no native way to search for other creators or content.
Things are pretty basic and minimal.
Which brings me to my next action.
Sought Out Search Engines For Mirror Content
A quick google search helped me to learn that there are at least two search engines built exclusively for surfacing Mirror articles, publications, and writers.
The first I explored was Ask Mirror.
It’s still quite basic, but this at least allowed me to search for interesting content, and find other writer’s work.
One thing I noticed immediately was a lack of ability to “follow” someone once you found something intriguing.
This led me to keep searching, which eventually brought me to Bress.xyz.
I think I prefer this search option to Ask Mirror, due to some of the social features they have added.
With Bress, you have the ability to follow an author, subscribe via RSS, and share articles via Twitter.
Joined The Mirror Discord Server
I think when some people hear the phrase “Discord Server”, they freeze a bit because it sounds like some techie dev speak.
But all Discord really is a community space, not too different to Slack or Circle, where you can chat with other users who have a shared interest.
I’ve joined several in the past week, and it’s really the fastest way to get up to speed and ask questions about Web 3.
Come join me in the Mirror Discord, and say hello!
In my first week, I’ve found community members to be quite generous in asking me questions, and everyone there seems genuinely interested in advancing the platform.
Ready to Jump In?
Alright, that’s it for now.
In my next article on this topic, I’ll break down some high-level thoughts and observations on what specific opportunities exist NOW for those who are interested in getting started.
Hope to see you in the Discord channels!
And if you come across something interesting in your own travels, or have a quick question, don’t hesitate to reach out.