We have been busy getting ready for the release of Cityverse to the St. Pete community, and the world at large. While we have been creating our brand identity, and diving into the complexities of how to develop a platform that integrates exciting and powerful Web3 tools into our vibrant city of St Pete, I have found one of the core answers to a project question we have received many times: How does Cityverse work?
Joe Hamilton started Catalyst four years ago. He started it because he saw an important element missing in the local community – a binding force of communication. That realization sparked nostalgia of how cities and neighborhoods worked and communicated in the not-so-distant past – through a singular local source, the local paper. Sure, now there is news everywhere – in our phones, computers and televisions. Tons of news. More information than ever, but it doesn’t serve communities in the same way that local news brings us together – it is scattered and siloed at best, and divisive at worst.
Now I see it isn’t good enough to be just a local newspaper. People expect more than passive reading of news stories. Social media showed us that news could be interactive and collaborative. The internet provided direct access to experts and expanded expectations for deeper knowledge in our content. We now assume the capacity to participate in the discussion–to add our voice. What we needed was the local newspaper to innovate and evolve with us in the same way- to allow us to interact with it. It failed to do so, which left a critical community resource depleted. An innovation and evolution of local news, that is what we at Cityverse aspire to bring to the world – one city at a time
But wait, how do you do that? How does Cityverse work?
I am tasked with taking the information from a complex world and making it digestible and engaging to our audience. I talk to developers and translate their internet jargon and strange coding languages to make it easy to understand. I love to do it. I love bringing people intocomplex idea spaces and empowering them to feel at home and engaged in the process. As a part of creating Cityverse, as you can imagine, there is a lot of this kind of writing to do. For our introduction to the world, I wanted to talk about the snazzy tech Cityverse will have to offer and how it works. Or, I thought about writing something on how the internet is changing, because it is. I thought about writing something on how local creators don’t fare well on existing content platforms, and how they might earn a living in a Cityverse. I thought about how we might just make local news mighty again… And then, I thought about how I met Joe.
I am here in this position because of how the community works. How I met Joe, got my job, and became part of this amazing team of people. Now, I’m working to build this social paradigm shift for St. Pete; All of this is because of local connections. It started with a random encounter with a member of our community, in an Uber. That encounter led to an interview. That interview landed me at Cityverse. Thrive DTSP where the local connection is palpable. It was like magic. Now, I get to help build Cityverse and innovate to make our community better at scale. I also get to share my voice.
My point is that it wasn’t a grandiose LinkedIn application barrage, or a scouring of the massive and scammy world of Indeed emails that landed me here. It was because of Catalyst News and one of their readers. It was because of local-first connections. I’m here because one core function of the community, one that Cityverse will elevate and optimize.
So here we go. I am part of the small, but growing, amazing team that has a vision of a local platform that can create an entire new layer of opportunity. A space for us to share who we are as individuals and shape how we blend together. A place where our unique local businesses can thrive, where Cityzens can share their ideas that make a real community impact, and where people can connect to the good things hiding right around the corner – maybe even a dream job, just like I did.
Cityverse is only getting off the ground. It is a complex road to develop a new social experience that is accessible and useful. It’ll take time, work, innovation, and creativity.
How will it work? It will work because the people of St Pete want to connect, to share, to lift each other up and Cityverse will help us do that even better.