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Twitter Previews Coming NFT Display Options for Profile Images

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After sharing an initial preview of its coming NFT display option last month, Twitter has now shared some new insight into its in-development NFT showcase process, which will eventually enable Twitter users to share their NFTs with direct connection back to the ownership status of each.

As you can see in this example, posted by Twitter engineer Ethan Sutin, the new Twitter NFT display process will enable users to connect their NFT details into their image feed, which will then let profile visitors look up the info on any NFT that you use, providing direct assurance of ownership, and leaning into the rising NFT movement.

Which, confusingly at times, is rapidly rising, with people ‘investing’ thousands, even millions of dollars into still drawings that don’t really seem like art in the traditional sense.

In all honestly and transparency, I don’t really get the whole NFT thing.

I mean, I get the concept, and I understand the opportunities that they can create for digital artists, and the expansion of art investing, which could end up providing a lifeline for many creators who are looking to spend more time on their craft.

But when I see that this image of a cartoon monkey sold for the equivalent of $3.4 million, it does hurt my head a little bit.

Bored Ape example

This is a rare NFT from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection – rare because the ape is gold, and there are apparently not many apes in this color variant.

But it’s just a picture, right? And really, not a very good one, from a craft perspective. That’s not to denigrate the artists involved, but when you consider what’s traditionally considered to be fine art that would command such a high price, and the careful brush strokes and techniques used to create those timeless images – the sheer time and effort involved in painting, say, the Mona Lisa or Monet’s waterlilies. By comparison, this hand-drawn picture doesn’t really match up. Right?

Of course, art is subjective, and whether an individual likes a piece or not is irrelevant, because as long as there’s a person, or people, willing to pay for it, the value is what the market dictates. But I see this with most of these NFT images, craft-wise, that they’re not much better than what a teenager might doodle on their notepad when they’re bored in class.

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Maybe that, in itself, is part of the appeal, but I struggle to imagine that in ten or twenty years’ time, that these artworks will still be highly valued, which makes the ‘investment’ element questionable in my mind.

The other aspect that can be confusing is NFT ownership – how do you ‘own’ a digital art work that anyone can re-use, or re-share, with limited legal recourse?

For paintings and physical art, you have the actual piece, the canvas that the artist touched and worked on, and there’s only one in existence. But for digital art, there is no physical copy, so you ‘owning’ this piece and me, for example, owning a fake is actually no different at all, there’s no differentiation in what the art work actually is (though depending on the purchase agreement, the owner may be able to stop re-productions).

That’s one aspect that Twitter’s new NFT display could help to address – by providing the full details of each NFT, users would technically only be able to display art that they officially own, or it would be totally transparent in the case that they didn’t. This is arguably the most important element of this new project, and it could help ensure that artists get paid for their work, and the usage of such, by exposing those looking to fake it for NFT community cred.

Which is a real thing. The NFT movement is gradually taking over social media, and as more profile images switch to cartoonish depictions, of various form, it is definitely worth the platforms themselves looking into how they can best facilitate such, and fuel further engagement to lean into the next big art shift.

Which NFTs definitely are, whether I get them or not. Respected art house Southeby’s has already made NFTs a key focus, and as more collectors get involved in the NFT community, the movement continues to grow, and looks set to get much, much bigger as we move into the metaverse.

As such, Twitter’s new NFT project makes sense – and while I don’t know that I’ll ever get why people are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for images like this hand-drawn parrot by Gary Vaynerchuck.

Gary Vanerchuck MFT

Like, who has that kind of cash and will this really appreciate in value?

Regardless of my misgivings, there’s very clearly significant opportunity here, which could spark whole new engagement and growth opportunities in social apps.

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Ahead of World Cup, influencer ‘Mr Q’ lifts veil on Qatar

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Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar

Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar – Copyright AFP KARIM JAAFAR

Raphaelle Peltier

At a time when prickly questions are being asked about Qatar and its hosting of the World Cup, Khalifa Al Haroon offers a smile, a sigh and a shrug as he seeks to explain its mysteries.

Known to his growing number of followers as Mr Q, the 38-year-old has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil over the tiny but mega-rich Gulf state that describes itself as a “conservative” Islamic country.

The first World Cup in an Arab nation has put a spotlight on Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers, gender rights and even the use of air conditioning in stadiums.

Haroon’s cheerful #QTip videos broach everything from saying “Hello” in Arabic to the right way for men to wear the flowing ghutra headdress. There is also an edition on labour rights.

With less than 60 days to the November 20 start of the tournament, he now has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and more than 115,000 on YouTube. And the numbers keep growing.

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Qatar has dozens of online influencers on topics ranging from “modest” but expensive fashion, to the latest sports car being imported into what is now one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Haroon carved out his niche by elucidating Qatar’s unknowns to its growing expat community — and now the hordes of football fans expected for the World Cup.

Haroon — who was born to a Qatari father and British mother and spent 16 years in Bahrain — said he was first confronted by global stereotypes about Qatar and the Middle East while studying for a law degree in Britain.

He had wanted to become an actor, but instead launched his social media presence in 2008 with a blog.

“I was in the perfect position because I was a Qatari who has never lived properly in Qatar,” he said.

– ‘Trust your own eyes’ –

“In essence, I was like a foreigner in my own country and so I had the same questions that foreigners did, and so it just made it easy for me to start putting together information.”

Haroon said there has to be a distinction between “negative news” and misinformation about his country.

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“When it comes to fake news, obviously, I think everybody understands that it’s not true and so the only thing that I could do is show people videos and pictures and show them what we’re really like because you can trust your own eyes.”

Some people, he said, have told him they decided to move to Qatar after watching his videos.

Haroon, who is now a consultant to the Qatar Football Association and an eSports entrepreneur, said he is excited about the World Cup “because people can now come here and experience it for themselves and make their own judgements instead of just believing what’s written”.

His main grouse is how outsiders see something negative about Qatar and then believe that all Qataris “accept it or we all agree with it”.

Many supporters of the 31 foreign countries who will play in Qatar have raised concerns, however, about the welcome awaiting them. Can they drink? And what will happen to same-sex couples in a country where homosexuality is illegal?

The government has insisted that beer, normally restricted, will be available and that everyone is welcome. Haroon wants outsiders to experience “real Qatari hospitality”, with its food and coffee culture.

“Of course there are going to be certain social norms,” said Haroon. “What we are asking for is just respect the country. And of course the country will definitely be respecting everyone that comes.”

“Some people might make mistakes because they don’t know what the rules are and that’s OK,” he added.

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“The point is our culture is all about intention, our religion is about intention, so as long as you have good intentions and you want to do the right thing, you have nothing to worry about.”

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