How to make emojis sing: The case for Hive's Emoji Market
I'm proposing to build a new service exclusive to Hive and its emoji users
Who doesn't like emojis, right? As someone fond of languages, machine or natural alike, I find the idea of modern hieroglyphs as a kind of universal language adoring. I'm sure @wil.metcalfe will know what I'm blabbing. Okay, we have tiny pictograms embedded into our texts, so what? - One might say. Well, we also luckily have at our hand one of the most accessible, most open databases of online interactions today can offer: Hive.
And so I made @MojiCap, the first-ever beta of an emoji statistics system for the Hive blockchain. For the most part, I did it to have some fun coding and learning, but I also wanted to gather and publish some insight on this aspect of our social life. I was interested in the various trends, and the data that I could freely touch was electrifying. Naturally, I felt and still feel motivated to make something cool. I wanted something useful and fun, profitable for the community and myself both.
As I proceeded with the various stages of testing, coding, refactoring and thinking, a vision slowly started taking form. The day I finally pushed all the buttons for kick-off, I was so excited! I was barely able to sleep. Watching folks getting attracted by my creation was super-rewarding. I like to thank a few of them before unfolding my plans for the project.
Dear @gregia, @littlebee4, @fernanblog, @lesmann, @chacald.dcymt,@tengolotodo, @cochanet, @consciouscat, @ninahaskin, @mariuszkarowski, @ctime, @maridmc, @coquicoin, @balte and many more! I see that you see something in emojis I see as well. I cannot be more grateful for your unstoppable support that fills me with something warm each day! I want to state my gratitude, especially toward Mr. @gtg. Not only for being here for me from the beginning of my journey on Hive but for the critical thinking and honesty he brings. His words were of wisdom, greatly influencing what I have in mind as the next steps. (Not to mention my continuous whining about running the local testnet, getting through the different API-s and frameworks of Hive, etc. Thank you for staying responsive and helpful!)
Where this is all heading?
After almost one year spent getting from zero knowledge of Hive internals to the working beta, I needed a little break. Having a job, of course, and a family to look after also made the process a petite longer than I expected. While I'm improving and fixing things that need to be improved and fixed now, I aim to make the code open-source one day, at least partly as a general-purpose Hive bot. The more specific parts, the ones responsible for collecting and presenting the data, need some care too. So it will take some more time to unfold it all, but. Let me exhibit the plan!
I'd like to have a stand-alone, mind-blowingly good-looking website visualizing Hive's emoji data. (Dzięki @gtg!) It is a must-have and a fun project in itself. Not only to be able to show all the data in a more sophisticated way, not only not to spam the network unnecessarily, or for me to get to play with Web3 domain names, IPFS, etc., but to have a stand-alone entry point for this project and all that yet to be built upon, and possibly to attract new people towards the Hive ecosystem too.
As soon as the in-depth stats are solidly available and the bot feeding them is equally stable, we can concentrate on the intriguing topic of regular posts. To post or to not post, that is the question. My answer is that I'd like to keep them but shift them into something more interesting. I want to fund this project and myself while working on it too, but I'd like to stay as far from self-serving as possible. I want to give back to the chain, not only data and rankings somewhat funny but something more meaningful, not sacrificing the fun, on the contrary, extending it. I envision a game and a market. Let me explain.
MojiCap != MojiCrap
When it comes to economic systems, be it on- or off-chain, it is all about value and the feedback loops to enrich it, right? Okay, there may be a little more to that but to the point. I think of a game where people with the most valuable emojis get rewarded. But how do we measure the value of communication concerning emojis? I do not want to encourage people to flood the screens with as many emojis as they can, that's for sure. However, to inspire them to lift the quality of overall emoji usage on the network sounds much more attractive. Highlighting and even rewarding people and their content with the most spectacular and well-suited use of emojis would potentially do some good for everyone on Hive.Actual emoji stats you can already follow!
The trick is, I came to realize, that there is already an evaluation method available for emojis. I found it already inscribed in the numbers we see. A Slightly Smiling Face, coming around on every corner, expressing as it may be, easily considered by our mind as noise. We can refer to it as something cheap. On the other hand, something more esoteric, like a Front-Facing Baby Chick, grabs our attention instantly. Emoji users who want to stand out and have their distinct style should be looking for the less overused pieces. To find that little gem amongst the 3000 or so emojis may be worth looking after all. Emojis representing more special topics, a niche, if you may, would naturally be more valuable in this respect. More so, if one can stash some reward for using them relevantly and wisely. You get what I am up to, aren't you?
It is (almost) a no-brainer to match a value for every piece of emojis based on their usage. I will explain the system I have in mind in an upcoming post. Briefly, I'm working towards rewarding people for graceful, delicate, caring emoji use.
I am to change the nature of the currently running "game", where our forming community had already started moji-racing for who could do more. I am to turn it into a who could do better game, leaving parts of the current stats intact, but extending it with rankings for authors and posts, based on how valuable the emoji usage they accomplish, considering rareness/scarcity. Most importantly, I will stash part of the post rewards I'm getting into a pool to reward the most creative emoji users. Later I want also to curate the most mojistic posts with this organically growing account.
I have more to build, though. I'm envisioning a community of emoji-lovers, one day a dedicated token even, for this purpose, usable in games, purchasing NFTs, etc. "Mining" a coin with emojis, how cool that would be? The idea here is to create a circle of fun and value, to build something inviting and instrumental on Hive and beyond. My current proposal would already make a new front for content creation and curation, new means to emerge from the crowd, and a reward system for making your posts and comments even more valuable and lush. Content and especially emoji usage on Hive could become more vivid and profound this way, in my hope, having yet another distinct feature none of the other social media platforms has: real-time emoji evaluation and curation. To make the project sustainable, it is also worth considering stashing part of the rewards to fund future features (like backing a token).
Now, the implications. What prevents bots from exploiting the system, you may ask. What prevents people from continuously posting emojis not popular at all at that time without those being relevant to their content? My answer is competition and Hive built-ins like the downvoting and reputation system. I would only highlight and reward authors and post above a certain reputation level, so bots or bad actors could fall out fast. It probably wouldn't be worth it to make a great or even a not so great post and intentionally fill it with irrelevant emojis only to have it highlighted or collect some rewards. One might lose more by getting downvoted by the ones who put real effort into keeping their emojis relevant and rare at the same time. The formula I'm working on for emoji evaluation favours rareness way more than the raw number of emojis per post. More emojis could easily mean less value at the end of the day, so it is better to think twice if adding one more little guy would be worth it.
I expect to see a lot of the overlooked emojis, initially high in "value", starting to climb up in popularity while some of the overused ones slide down. With time it might lead to a dynamics of a diverse "market" for emojis, a phenomenon without precedent before and one I cannot wait to see. This service could also potentially grant more visibility to some overlooked communities, creators and topics, yet another way for authors on Hive to stand out.
More to come soon. I'm very much interested in hearing your opinions about the project. Please leave a comment and let me know if you found it as gripping as myself. Thank you for checking by!