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Voices from the Metaverse: Thailand’s NFT Community

An imaginative Wednesday cocktail from Z1MPLEX

Greetings, Earthlings. We are back with more art and photography from six of my friends and colleagues in the Metaverse. This post also introduces one of the most organised groups of creators online: The Thai NFT Community. There are many Thai artists on Twitter, and an uncountable number of fascinating projects to enjoy. My timeline speeds by, so I thought it would be best to slow things down and get to know them better.

And as always, please be good enough to follow them on Twitter, where you can see their beautiful artwork in your timeline.

Isreyah Pradabvate
I am a Thai NFT creator and I believe in making this world a better place. If you want that too, please support my artwork because it allows me to give back to communities where I actively engage. My favourite causes are: a positive outlook; sustainability; small community outreach; children’s rights. I use my artwork to deliver messages of support and help those in need.

This sold out project I am sharing with you is called, “My Other Half”. And it is a 1/1 token which I created with my dear friend, 100Acre. She is featured later in this post.

SOLD OUT: My other half project by Isreyah and 100Acre

The story goes, we have a crush on one guy but it will never come true because he is not real. How did we sell this project when there were two creators? We both wanted to be with our darling. Well, we split the illustration into two pieces and named them, “My Other Half”.

The Japanese text on our darling’s chest means “Stay together forever”. Our supporter, astrophotographer Amit Exploring Night Sky, purchased these two tokens without hesitation. He told me that they reminded him of the pendant he gave to his former girlfriend, who is now his wife.

Each half was priced at 0.036 ETH (US $125.76) and we came up with the price because 18 x 2 = 36. The number 18 is a sacred number for longevity in Japanese culture. And guess what? Our collector’s birthday is on the 18th. This felt like a miracle, indeed.

And would you believe that the magic happened during Lily Nicole’s Twitter Space? She drew together beautiful people, energy, and friends to meet there. I feel moved and I appreciate so much how my art could recall the innocent memory of a beautiful couple through my soul sister’s Twitter Space. It goes without saying that our other half doesn’t have to be our dream prince but rather, a bond of sisterhood and friendship, even from afar.

You can follow me on Twitter and stay updated on my work. You may also purchase my non-fungible tokens on the Open Sea platform.

Student of Universe/STU NFT
This is Pete from Student of the Universe NFT Collection project, also called STU NFT. I would like to share with you the story of this community project. I started my NFT journey as a collector around March this year.

In the Thai NFT community, I discovered a lot of amazing NFT art projects. But after I collected and flipped (relisted and sold for a profit) tokens for a while, I felt that I wanted to be part of something bigger. Something that could inspire and change the world in wonderful way.

At that time, Thai artists were not adding utility to their NFT projects. However, I soon found one perfect project that I loved. After collecting a lot of artwork from it, I talked to the artist and found out that we had a lot in common. As a result, we launched a partnership, created a road map of our project, and spun this universe into existence.

Students of the Universe NFT Collection

This is how the Student of the Universe NFT project was born. Our Discord channel was built from August 15, and we launched the collection on Twitter shortly after that.

Here are the core values we plan to put into our project: Deliver great art, create a community of learning, and deliver valuable utilities. I am proud to say that we now have 123 tokens for collectors. View our collection here on Open Sea. And keep up with us on Twitter. We are waiting to meet you.

Jehn’s Bloom
My preferred name online is Jehn. I am a writer, fine artist, and amateur photographer from Thailand. I cherish fragility, gender spectrum inclusion, and divine creation. And I do art based on this concept: ‘Of flower, love and queers’.

I use soft pastels on Indian handcrafted paper and my 10 fingers as a blending tool. These are only the specific combinations which I use. And this is what I do to create a unique effect, which you may have already noticed. Follow me on Twitter and get to know me and my friends.

Z1MPLEX NFT Lab
Hello, I am Zimplex, a mixology cocktail bar owner from Thailand. In my home country, I am known for creating visually stunning cocktail shooters using spirits, liqueurs and syrups. In other words, I love to create artwork in shot glasses.

These drinks have been subsequently visualised into unique and physical generative NFTs. For my main project, I remove the shot glass from each photo by using a retouching tool, and then I let the solid form of cream liqueur stand out.

These are then transformed into mirror-image artwork and video installations like the one embedded below. And, there is my side project, ‘Shooter Monsters’, which is a problem/solution project for those wondering how my cocktails look before I turn them into artwork.

For more delicious drinks, visit me at my bar in Thailand, or follow me on Twitter for updates.

100 Acre
Hello, I am known as 100 Acre in the NFT community, and I am Ploy’s collaborator in our project, “My Other Half”. She was featured at the top of this post. I would like to share my project, 100 Acre Kindergarten, along with some artwork from the collection.

My primary inspiration is my artist alias, 100 Acre, which refers to Winnie the Pooh’s 100 acre wood. The 100 Acre Kindergarten collection is similar to a collection of children’s stories. It was created to be a place where I, as well as those who view my work, can unwind and enjoy life as we did when we were children.

Each token in this collection introduces a new character of an animal universe, with their own personalities and backstories. When the project is complete, there will be 100 characters in total, with 85 being common, 10 being special (coastal area kids), and 5 being rare (parallel world kids).

Thank you for viewing my work. Find me on Twitter where I hope you will also become part of our 100 Acre world.

Go2Skull
My name is Wake and I am known as go2skull on Twitter. (My name is pronounced ‘go to school’). The story behind my project is that if you see someone looking for a way forward, and they are in the dark, be a light for them. The Fairy Tales in Postmodern Era project is a retelling of classic fairy tales from the perspective of social activist movements in my country.

Fairytales in the Postmodern era by Go2Skull

I got this concept from my full-time job. I am a teacher in Thailand. I have witnessed efforts there related to student activism in areas such as children’s rights, human rights, bullying, racism and sexism. So I would like to participate by helping to reflect their struggles. My artwork gives me a way to do that. Until wrongs are made right, I will continue on this journey.

¯_( ͡❛ ͜ʖ ͡❛)_/¯

And with that powerful message from Wake, we are at the end of this curated post. I was amazed to discover that some artists are also social activists and community organisers. Isreyah and Pete, thanks for helping to set this up.

There is never enough time to hear everyone’s story in spaces, which is why this post was necessary. I am happy that I was able to discover more about each artist and their worthy causes. My gratitude goes to them for sharing their stories. Best wishes on the road ahead. Thank you, everyone, for reading.

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Instagram’s smart tech is a loving me thing

It is Saturday afternoon and as I write this, I am waiting for a meeting to resume. Unfortunately, two expatriates seated at the far corner of the conference room are talking loudly about assorted bedroom activities. I gather that the man is gay and his friend is a married straight woman. I suppose they are comparing notes?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

It was impossible to hear myself think, so I am standing near an open window to let the sound of traffic drown out their voices. And while I am here, I thought it would be good idea to update you with my Instagram goings on.

At the moment, I’m hardly posting on Instagram. But for the past eight days, every 23 hours to the hour, I see that I have 25 new followers. This exact number, at exactly the same time, tells me that this is the work of a machine. 

Remember that last year, Instagram was burning my posts. And now, after two months on the platform, the smart tech is working for me. I was advised in a Clubhouse room, a couple of months ago, that Instagram was doing a big reset. I was also advised to take advantage because this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. The problem is that I am an introvert and going live on video will never happen. Because of that, I needed a modified approach.

Photo by Tim Gouw

Here is what happened after two months and 18 reels, 3 (15-second) stories daily, no lingerie selfies, and zero live posts. I am at 472 followers. My account is growing every day, so I will continue on this path. (If only Twitter were as malleable).

Metrics 

  1. This is a business account. 
  2. I do not pay for ads which means that all of my engagement is organic. 
  3. All of the new followers brought over from Instagram’s smart tech are 85% artists in the NFT community, 5% follower boosting accounts and 10% crypto investors. 
  4. Quite a number of my other followers are from Clubhouse. The apps share data with each other. Instagram will automatically suggest my account to anyone following me over there and vice versa.
Photo by Fiona Art

Posts and engagement  

  1. After my first five posts, I started posting reels in the form of animated videos showcasing my artwork. 
  2. Avoid captions. Only a few of my reels have them. Instead, I tell a story in a slideshow or MP4 video. 
  3. Nearly zero hashtags on posts or reels. Instagram treats hashtags like spam. 
  4. Edit all videos or images (to create a slideshow) in the IG native editor using filters.
  5. Add music and carefully choose clips within the song to match the story. Music choice is the number one compliment I have received so far. People seem to have a positive emotional reaction my artwork because of the music. 
  6. Repost my own reels/posts to stories. 
  7. Hashtags only in stories – limited to one per story and this is always NFT related. 
  8. Follow back as many accounts as possible. Check occasionally to make sure that all followed accounts are active. 
  9. Restrict spammy, fake looking accounts and never follow sales people (crypto investors). 
  10. Reply to all comments and respond to private messages. Delete messages I don’t want to answer. Accounts look spammy if they don’t talk to each other. 
  11. Mute accounts that post more than 5 reels in one hour. These kinds of accounts rarely engage with my posts. Then I look spammy to the smart tech. 
  12. Visit new followers’ profiles and engage with posts. 
  13. Engage with my timeline. Hide, mute, like or share posts to friends.
  14. Join live broadcasts even for a few minutes. Send comments and reactions while there. This signals that I am a real person.
  15. Engage with my followers’ stories by sending reactions and comments. Gauge feedback to these and mute accounts that are not responsive. 
  16. Remix posts from active followers and share them to my stories. Add music, fun stickers, gifs, scribbles, text and mentions.
  17. When a follower adds the above remix in their stories, immediately share to my stories.
  18. Use voice memos or calls where possible. 
Photo by Steve Johnson

If you are interested in testing this approach, try it on your Instagram account. I must point out that I am niche specific. I am an artist in the NFT community. I focus on graphic design and I’m interested in paintings from visual artists. And though I never tell Instagram what my specific niches are by using captions or hashtags, the smart tech introduced me to blockchain specialists, abstract painters and 3D/animation artists in the NFT space. Then, bear in mind that I spend no more than 30 minutes a day creating at least three stories. I also respond to all of my messages.

No selfies, no bikinis, no bare butts. Only plenty of good music, interesting stickers, and artwork to inspire me. Best of luck.

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A reel turnaround

Hello everyone. I am sending happy weekend vibes to you. As you might guess from the title, I’m back on Instagram. Does anyone remember last year how I spent three days on Instagram and then spent another four trying to deactivate my account because they kept burning hashtags and deleting my posts?

On Wednesday, I downloaded the app again and created a fresh new business account. My experience is much more pleasant because I’m not using captions or hashtags. Instead, my method for increasing my engagement has been to make demands and threats. This has worked so far.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I get asked daily why I am not on Instagram, so I created this business account to connect with professionals I meet through social audio.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to make friends with someone who works with Google to train business owners to use Instagram for marketing. Thus, I have a strong incentive to not toss my phone out the window.

Instagram’s smart tech is impressive, something Marvin Stone would have approved of. I’ve only been on there for three days, not scrolling or searching for anything, and it showed me my favourite dish: charcoal grilled eel on sticky rice. The person who posted the image also has his headquarters at Starbucks and like me, he has the same drink every time he goes there. I had better behave or that thing is going to publish all of my secrets.

So in one of the scenes for my upcoming novel, I wrote about a social media application that shows only one post at a time. One of the characters, Mimi Hollingsbrook, is preparing for her work day. Because she works in the Royal Household as Baby Pudding’s nanny, she has agreed to keep a low profile on social media. Against her better judgement, she decides to look at her feed, and notices something in a caption from a famous influencer. She has a meltdown after reading it. Within a few minutes, her response, which is full of expletives, gains 5 million likes. This prompts her to permanently archive her account. In a later scene, Mimi is given a taste of power when a quarter percenter asks her to decide about that influencer’s future.

When writing notes about the social media applications I would be using in the story, I thought about reactions from readers. I was convinced that this feature would never be adopted in the real world. However, at the moment, the trend is to be super minimalist on Instagram, with as few posts as possible. At this rate, if I don’t hurry up and finish drafting, I will be publishing historical fiction.

In further news, I have been sucked into the vortex and I am now managing my social audio apps on two phones. One for Clubhouse, Discord and Twitter, and the other one for Greenroom and Instagram. That’s because one of the apps keeps crashing if I’m in audio spaces on two others. (Don’t ask). Juggling two phones might look cool on TV but I’m an introvert, so it does not feel right.

Why, oh why couldn’t I have found a marketing firm that was good at their job? I could’ve been friendlessly redrafting my new book right now.

Please send prayers. Thank you.

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artificial intelligence technology women writing

Clubhouse v Greenroom: Tuesday AM Beef

Where two or more humans are gathered on a social media platform, there will be beef. And, on Tuesday morning, social audio delivered two servings of beef to me before I even got out of bed.

It started when I woke up at 1 AM to have some water. I checked my phone and noticed an invitation to join a Greenroom networking session. The room looked like an exploded space ship. Avatars were floating about, and all mics were muted. In the notifications was a hyperlink to an adjacent Clubhouse networking session, so I beamed myself in. After saying hello to the group, I bid everyone a good night and promised to visit again.

Five hours later, I was awake. Now, I checked new messages in a Discord server for creators. Almost all of the members were posting screen captures of notifications showing that they had been blocked from entering one particular room on Greenroom. These individuals were all button-down suburban types, and not ratchet gang-gang Crips v Blood folk. The person accused of starting the drama was a new member of the server. I thought that for sure, the server was under attack (!) so I sent a message to the administrator.

Seconds later, I was back in the Clubhouse room from earlier that morning because I wanted to see if the group was still active. I noticed that the room had a different title, and that the host was discussing the blocking incident. He explained how groups worked to “steal networks” from influencers. The app is only three weeks old, but Evil never rests. I turned off my phone, put it on my desk, and went to work.

As I reflected on the storm that was swirling in my phone, it occurred to me that burnout on social media is caused by emotional attachments to vanity metrics. In the end, these metrics are a rendering of specific data points in virtual space. Many of us do not have a clear purpose for using social media applications. Too often, we misuse them and then blame “social media” for dampening our creative spirit.

I reminded myself that I should focus on communicating with the smart technology that runs these platforms. And how do I define effective communication on each platform? Knowing that they have different functions, learning what they require for sustenance, and feeding them.

On Sunday, for example, I practised a focused detachment on Twitter. Applying a formula to composing my tweets, I noticed that each one was retweeted. Then, I focused on networking on Greenroom. In a short time, I got a dozen new follows. These individuals searched for my profile on Clubhouse and followed me there, too. Stress level? Zero.

Yesterday, I took a break from my tested formulae to whine about “rude people”. My tweet was ignored. I allowed myself to get irritated by a creepy person leering at an attractive woman posing in underwear. I was taking things personally, and not being purposeful about promoting my business. No-one followed me. I promised to manage my time better.

To be honest, Tuesday’s incidents were nonstarters and quite boring. But I could see how people get addicted to feelings and then lose sight of their objectives. On Wednesday morning, everyone had moved on, so Tuesday’s energy expenditure was nullifed.

There is nothing I can do to convince anyone to feel less possessive over imaginary fiefdoms populated by the digital imprints of purported people. Perhaps my scepticism is based on the understanding that anything existing in electronic form can be made up, invented, copied, duplicated, forged, faked and reproduced. And it goes without saying that given how easy it is to do all of that, beefing over vanity metrics means next to nothing if you cannot convince your followers to show up for you when and where it matters.

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art artificial intelligence creative writing fiction science fiction writing

Strawberry Sea

Lords of the Fallen

Christian fell out of the wormhole and landed flat on his back. Overhead, his hovercraft exploded. The blast appeared to freeze as it was swallowed up by the singularity.

Within moments, shortwave radiation activated his solar plexus. The nerve endings shocked his heart into rhythm, and his lungs billowed open. His first breath was a revelation. Air, in three-dimensional space, tasted sweet and astringent.

The first light of that morning prized open his pupils and flooded his eyes, enabling him to see his surroundings. He convulsed, fingers scraping at the ground, as his brain recalibrated itself. A phalanx of trees looked him over. Their leaves nodded lazily as they cast off the raindrops that weighted them down.

As a comic book hero, Christian’s circumstances were limited by whatever someone else decided to print.

“I can’t live to my fullest potential acting out roles others are scripting for me.”

An illustrator had scribbled those words near Christian’s mouth. They were cruel and ironic.

“There are advantages,” Christian thought, while battling a Bandroid in volume 91, on page 316. “My victory is guaranteed.”

Eight pages later, he changed his mind. “Please someone,” he pleaded, “write me a way out of here.”

On page 326, someone drew him into our cryptic universe. That was how he found himself stretched out on the eastern bank of the Ganges, dreaming of a strawberry sea.

+_~

Notes: Keep calm and rebel on, rebels. With special thanks to Lilian Wong for including me in her Twitter poetry campaign, which started on September 4 – @LilianYWong. Image Credit: Playstation Europe. Lords of the Fallen, via Flickr, used with permission.