10 NFT Community Lessons From 2022 (A Year of Insights)

The viewer stands beneath an old boardwalk in the Florida keys. The sun is setting. The the left, the sky is blue. To the right, the sky has taken on a brilliant orange color.
Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira is a photographer from Massachusetts, USA. She captures the beauty of the world around her, favoring Nikon cameras and lenses. She is drawn to shooting landscapes, wildlife, flowers, and people enjoying time together.

10 NFT Community Lessons From 2022 (A Year of Insights)

What the NFT Community Taught ME in 2022

2022 was the year that I fell in love with the NFT art communtiy. What started as a search for a way to make some “easy money” selling my art, quickly turned into an all-consuming passion for blockchain technology, digital art, and the global culture that has built around it. 

As I sit with my coffee on the morning of New Year’s Eve and try to reflect on the big themes of 2022, one word looms large; NFTs. Since February 12, 2022, I have spent time every single day on Twitter sharing my NFT art, enjoying other artists’ NFT art, and learning everything that I possibly can about art, entrepreneurship, and blockchain applications. In this post, I will share the ten biggest lessons I learned in 2022 about NFTs, cryptocurrency, and what it takes to keep coming back to this world day after day.

My name is Lauren McDonagh-Pereira. I am a photographerNFT artistNFT collector, and web3 blogger. I have been fully immersed in the NFT art space since February 2022.

photo of a woman holding a camera, surrounded by sunflowers
Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Keep reading to learn my 10 NFT community lessons from 2022. 

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Disclaimer

 

A red stop sign against a blue sky, with a red rocks on either side
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2013

Before we get into it, please consider a few quick DISCLAIMERS.

  • I am not a financial advisor, an art expert, a lawyer, or an accountant. Always do your own research before purchasing NFTs and never spend money that you cannot afford to spend. 
  • This post represents my personal opinions and is NOT financial advice.
  • I am an NFT artist. At the time of posting, I have works minted on the Tezos and Ethereum blockchains. Links contained in this article may point to my own minted NFTs or may point to the NFTs of other artists that I have collected from. If you choose to collect NFTs referenced in this article, I may earn money from your purchase.

#10 - Selling NFTs is NOT EASY

Selling NFTs is not easy. In fact, it’s an extremely difficult grind. When NFTs were trending in the cultural consciousness in 2021, people kept hearing about Beeple selling an NFT for $69 million, Bored Ape Yacht club NFTs selling for millions, and previously starving artists suddenly making a full time income selling NFTs overnight .

These headlines made selling NFTs look deceptively easy. Artists  jumped on the NFT train hoping that they would build a lucrative side hustle, or full time business immediately. Most of those artists did not last long, when they learned the truth about finding NFT collectors.

Selling NFTs is difficult. It is a small business. As an artist, you have to brand yourself, learn how to market your work, learn how to present yourself as a professional, learn how to appraise and price your work, build a network of connections, and stay current with developments in the cryptocurrency market. You are your own marketing team, PR agency, sales force, customer service staff, and accounting department. 

And then, even after you have mastered these skills, something will change suddenly. Did you build your audience on Twitter? Well, the algorithm changed and no one is seeing your work. Did you mint everything on Ethereum? Too bad, the market crashed and no one is buying. Did you invest in a marketing collective project? Sucks to be you. The project lead just Tweeted something offensive and now no one wants to touch it. 

You will never be able to build something one week, and then sit back and let it ride in the NFT art world. You have to be ready to adapt at a moments’ notice and willing to learn something new every day. 

A vintage neon cafe sign against a bright blue daytime sky
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

#9 - Stay Curious

Curiosity is a crucial skill for any entrepreneur, and it is especially important for NFT artists. Blockchain technology is relatively new. It was created in 1991, but it didn’t have a practical application until Bitcoin launched in 2009 (Soure: Investopedia).  The first NFT was minted only 8 years ago in 2014. (Soure: Reuters). OpenSea, the most popular minting platform launched as recently as 2017. (Source: OpenSea). Meanwhile, historians believe that physical art has been sold since at least 500 B.C.E. (Source: Britannica). Comparatively, the NFT art market is BRAND NEW. 

To have any hope of making it in the NFT art world, you have to stay curious. When you hear about a new minting platform, research it. When a new Discord is gaining steam, check it out. When someone in a Twitter space starts talking about the market testing resistance points, keep listening even if it doesn’t make any sense at first. The beauty of a nascent art culture is that no one is really an expert yet, which means that expert could be you. 

In 2022, I have learned something new every single day. I am a better photographer, because I participated in Twitter spaces with accomplished professionals who shared their tips. I am a better writer, because I crafted multiple daily Tweets to draw attention to my work. I am starting to understand the cryptocurrency and traditional markets, because I needed to understand why my profits were disappearing. I learned how to build a website, because I realized that I could not rely on social media for everything. I am aggressively studying marketing, because I understand its value as I build my brand into the future. I learned all of this because I was curious, and willing to do the research. 

As an NFT artist, you need to want to learn new things. You need to be excited by new technological developments, and want to explore them. You need to have an open mind, and you need to stay humble. You are not an expert. No one is an expert. This is all too new.

3 adults and a dog walk away across a frozen lake covered in snow. Evergreen trees surround the lake. The three figures have created a path with their footprints through the snow.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

#8 - You Don’t Need To Hop on Every Trend

On the other hand, you don’t need to hop on every new trend that comes across your Twitter feed. It is important to look into things and poke around, but this space moves so quickly, that you cannot possibly have your hands in all pots at all times. 

You simply must have an OnCyber gallery. No, wait. Spatial is better. Actually Deca is easier for people to browse. But now, people are meeting virtually on Spatial. Well, actually its better to join this Discord community. No, that community is just a cash grab, join this one instead. Have you applied to the NFT.NYC showcase? The NFT London showcase? Art Basel? Time Pieces? You’re still minting on OpenSea ? You need to be on Foundation. You actually need your own smart contract. Forget all that, get on Tezos! Be a Tezos maxi! Oh, you haven’t minted anything new on ETH? Foundation is hot again. Get on that. 

After a year, as an NFT artist, I have trend whiplash. There is no tried and true path forward as an NFT artist, yet, and it is tempting to give into the FOMO (fear of missing out) and try to chase every new trend. After all, you never really know which cryptocurrency will moon, which virtual gallery will become the standard, or which Discord community will put you in touch with the right crypto whale to make you a star. 

In 2023, I plan to practice intentionally slowing down. I will stay curious and learn about new developments in the community, but that does not mean that I need to abandon my day’s plans to build yet another virtual gallery. Give things a week or two, a week is a year in the NFT community. If people are still talking about a trend after a few weeks, it is probably worth considering. If the community has moved on, you will be glad that you spent your precious time elsewhere. 

A snowy owl has just taken off in flight.
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2022

#7 - Streamline Your Social Media Presence

Your time is your most valuable resource. You can always make more money. You can never go back and relive your Tuesday afternoon.

Most NFT artists are doing this as a hobby or side-hustle. We have careers, small business, families, and school work. We are busy people trying to cram the NFT art world into our already hectic lives. That is why it is so important to figure out a social media strategy that works for you and stick to it. 

Social media, namely Twitter and Discord, is where NFT art sales happen. NFT artists meet in Twitter Spaces to talk shop and sell their work. They Tweet their work daily, careful to post links as comments so as not to offend The Almighty Twitter Algorithm. They retweet, Quote Retweet, and respond to shill threads like it’s their job, because it kind of is. NFT artists also need to be present on Discord to build community, Instagram to maintain credibility, and stay up to date on the new decentralized social media platforms that keep popping up. 

Between group DMs on Twitter, a handful of Discord servers, and my Twitter notifications, I could spend the entire day just typing “GM” over and over and over again. I have turned off screen time monitoring on my phone, because I honestly don’t want to know. 

I have started to work on streamlining my social media presence, and I plan to continue perfecting my system in 2023. As of today, my social media strategy looks like this:

 Morning:

  1. Post my “GM” tweet on Twitter attached to an NFT I want to promote.
  2. Post that same NFT to Instagram, Vero, Facebook, and Pinterest, varying the text to suit each platform.
  3. Hop back to Twitter to respond to my “GM” responses while I drink my coffee and listen to my favorite Twitter Space, hosted by the fabulous @Tibalism and crew. 

Afternoon

  1. Let Canva post a promo on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
  2. Scroll through my Twitter feed to stay current, and connect with my friends in group Direct Messages.
  3. Post a thought or a real life snapshot of my day on Twitter. 

Evening

  1. Make a short video about my art to post on Twitter, TikTok, YouTube shorts, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, and Pinterest Idea Pins. 
  2. Pop into Discord to see if anything new is happening in the community.
  3. Post a “GN” Tweet on Twitter, and fight the urge to check my phone while I relax with my husband. 

Since Twitter is where the NFT community lives, I use Twitter as my base of operations. My content is all created with Twitter in mind, and all of my community engagement is focused on Twitter. I simply take a few extra minutes to cross-post my Twitter content on other social media platforms as part of my personal crusade to normalize NFT art to the wider community. 

When I did not plan ahead, and did not have a map to follow, I was spending way too much time on social media while simultaneously neglecting entire platforms for months at a time. Now that I have developed a system that works with my IRL daily routine, I feel much more in control of my social media presence, and my NFT art is getting a broader reach around the web. I highly recommend that every NFT artist figure out how to streamline their social media strategy. 

A side profile of a puffin with its beak open. The puffin stands on a rock. The rocky shore and ocean behind the puffin are blurred out with a heavy bokeh
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2022

#6 - Build Your OWN WEBSITE

My biggest social media marketing lesson from 2022 is that I cannot rely on social media to house my content. Social media platforms are fickle. Photographers used to have a big presence on Instagram, then the algorithm changed to favor reels so photographers moved to Twitter. Now Twitter is in a period of major transition and the rules seem to change daily. Social media is impossible to predict, and is ultimately in the business of serving their own interests and not yours. That is why I strongly believe that every NFT artist needs to build their own website. 

I created NFT Art with Lauren in November 2022. I was motivated to do so by an ill-timed Twitter shadow ban. I was in the middle of running a major Tezos community event  with the @TezTunas, when I decided to clean up my Twitter Following List to get rid of some now-obvious bots. Apparently, I unfollowed too many bots too quickly for The Almighty Twitter Algorithm, and I got a nasty shadow ban. No one was seeing my Tweets, my comments were hidden under a spam filter, and searches for my username produced no results. It took me a week to clear my name and reclaim my good standing. By then, the Tezos community event was over, and I was furious.

This frustrating incident taught me an important lesson. Social media is a marketing tool. It cannot be your whole marketing strategy. Social media can and will change the rules of the game without any warning. You need to have a predictable hub on the internet to house your content. You need to build your own website. 

I enjoy writing, so I opted for a self-hosted WordPress.org site that can serve as my gallery, blog, social network, and eventually e-commerce store. However, that is beyond the scope of what most artists need.

For most NFT artists, you just need to have your own domain name hosted on a drag and drop service, like SmugMug or Zenfolio. This website is where you will create your gallery, your about me page, and your network of links.

Use your website as your home base to create and post content. Then chop up the content you create on your website into smaller pieces to spread around social media. 

If you own your own website, you will not risk losing all of your content if your social media account is locked for mysterious reasons, if the platform you chose meets that same fate as Myspace and Vine, or if the NFT community decides to move to a hot new decentralized social media platform.

When you have a website, you own a space to house your content. When you rely on social media, you are a renter and your landlord gets to make all the rules. 

An image of Fort Jefferson of Dry Tortugas National Park shot through a window.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

#5 - Diversify Across Blockchains

NFT artists are all gamblers. By choosing a block chain to mint our work on, we are betting on that block chain to thrive into the future. Ethereum is the biggest player at the end of 2022, but Tezos, Solana, Polygon, and others all have significant market shares. We have no idea what the landscape will look like in 5 years. Some blockchains will grow. Some will die. It is important to diversify your portfolio by minting across more than one blockchain.

My work is split between Ethereum and Tezos. I am a huge Tezos advocate, and its my favorite place to mint and shop. However, I understand that cryptocurrency markets are volatile and there is always a chance that my Tezos NFT collection won’t increase in value over the coming years.

In 2023, I plan to focus on diversification. I want to mint more pieces on ETH, using Foundation and Makersplace. I want to try my hand at Solana, and look into platforms that accept fiat currency, like Voice. My first love will always be Tezos, but just as I have learned that I cannot put all my marketing energy into Twitter, I have learned that I cannot put all of my pieces on one blockchain if I hope to expand my NFT empire.

a field of grass in the foreground, a cactus growing in the middle. ocean water behind it
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

#4 - Keep Some Profits

When I jumped into the NFT space in February 2022. NFTs and cryptocurrencies were hot. February 16, 2022 was my first official day in the space. At the time, ETH was trading at $3,072 USD (Source). Today, December 31, 2022, ETH is trading at $1202 USD (Source: Google).

The cryptomarket, like all global markets at the moment, is down. I have faith that it will bounce back, because I strongly believe in the future applications of blockchain technologies. However, faith won’t pay my mortgage.

When I started making sales on ETH, and Tez the market was rising and the sales were coming quickly. I naively believed the hype that ETH was on its way to $10k and that the NFT market was going to keep getting hotter and hotter. I did not withdraw any of the funds I earned from NFT sales. Instead, I collected some pieces from a few artists I thought were promising, and I HODL (hold on for dear life) the rest.

I am not devastated by this choice, because I still have my assets. I have ETH and Tez in my wallets (even if they have dramatically depreciated), and I have a collection of works by amazing fellow artists. I hope that in the years to come, those assets will become more valuable, and some of them likely will.

However, in 2023, I plan to keep some of my profits. I will set a spend, save, cash out budget for cryptocurrency. When I make a sale, I will be more judicious about how much I invest into other artists, how much I hold on to as a cryptocurrency investment, and how much I cash out to support my current finances.

When you start selling NFTs, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype that the revenue is going to keep flowing, but the crypto market is unpredictable. It’s important to manage your expectations, and keep some of your profits for your present reality.

An empty paved road winds through the Icelandic landscape. Volcanic mountains are seen in the background.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

#3 - Appreciate Intangible Rewards

I am an NFT true believer. It is a fabulous way to share and sell art to a global audience. It gives artists dominion over their own work and the power to set their own terms. However, at the end of 2022, the NFT market is suffering at the hands of an intense cryptocurrency bear market. There might be a few artists who are making a full time living off NFT sales in December 2022, but I don’t know any of them. To stay motivated during this financial slump, its important to appreciate the intangible rewards of being part of the NFT community.

For me, the NFT community in 2022 has felt like a graduate program in photography and small business management. The community is so willing to work together to build this space out for the future. Career photographers are happy to share tips. Web developers point community members towards appropriate resources. Marketing gurus drop insightful Twitter threads regularly, and I am more than happy to soak up all of this knowledge. 

I may not have made much income in sales in 2022, but the value of the skills I have learned and the knowledge I have gained is immeasurable. If I was in this space to get rich quick, I would have bailed when the market first dipped in March. Instead, I recognized the value of surrounding myself with talented artists and motivated business people as I set out on my journey to launch my photography career once and for all.

As an NFT artist, you need to figure out what the most valuable intangible benefits are for you. Is it the education? The friendships? The art? Figure out why you are here beyond income, and you will have the motivation to continue building your brand through the crypto winter.

#2 - It's Okay to Take Breaks

The NFT community moves very quickly. It is common for people to joke that they were off Twitter for a weekend and now they have no idea what’s going on. I dipped out of my regular Twitter space for the holidays, and I am already bracing myself for the “I haven’t talked to you in years!” comments when I pop back up after 10 days off.

It is really tempting to jump into every Twitter Space, read every comment in your group DMs, and try to keep up with Discord. But, in 2022, I learned that this path leads to burn out.

It’s okay to take breaks from the NFT community. In fact, its crucial! If you go on a family vacation, pre schedule a few Tweets and ignore your phone for the week. Skip Twitter spaces one or two days a week. Pick a few Twitter spaces to regularly attend, and avoid the rest. You will feel like you need to be a part of everything that is happening all of the time, but its impossible to do so.

Go slow and take breaks when needed. If you build an authentic community in the NFT space, your friends will promote your work for you when you need a break, and they will welcome you back when you are ready to hop back on the grind. 

An image of a damaged wooden pier leading to the calm sea. A chain block the entrance to the pier. A sign on the chain reads "Danger - No trespassing. Police take notice."
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

#1 Community is Everything

COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING. This is the most important NFT lesson of 2022. To thrive in this space, you have to build your community. 

When I got involved in NFTs in February of 2022, I was used to posting my photography on Facebook or Instagram and then putting my phone down. I assumed Twitter would be the same. I would post a few images each day, get a few likes, rinse and repeat.

I was so wrong. By joining the NFT community, I was gifted with an amazing network of friends from all over the world! I talk to my friends in Twitter Spaces and Twitter DMs every day. I care about their lives outside of NFTs, and they care about mine.

So far, I have met two of my NFT friends in Porto, Portugal, a few in New York City, and I am excited to hang out with many more when I attend NFT.NYC in April 2023.

A year ago, I never could have imagined how deeply the NFT art world would enrich my social life, and how many amazing connections I would have made by the end of the year.

Honestly, if the crypto market goes to zero and NFTs lose all value, this will still have been time well spent. I get to wake up every day and connect with people who are just as passionate about the intersection between art and emerging technologies as I am, and it is a wonderful feeling.

My most important piece of advice for a new NFT artist is this: Find your people. Find the group that will cheer you up and cheer you on. Give to them, as much as you get from them, and always have the best interests of your community in mind. In the NFT art world, community is everything. Art is ultimately about the expression of our shared human experience. Connect with other people, and your NFT art career will be worth every ounce of effort. 

An underwater selfie of a couple snorkeling in the Florida Keys
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

Conclusion

2022 was a year of personal growth and professional education for me. I am so excited to capitalize on the lessons I learned in 2022 to continue growing my art career in 2023.

What did you learn about the NFT art community in 2022? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to be part of my NFT community. 

More to explore

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MEET Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira is a photographer from Massachusetts, USA. She captures the beauty of the world around her, favoring Nikon cameras and lenses. She is drawn to shooting landscapes, wildlife, nature, and people authentically enjoying life.