Discover more from Wysr by Cameron Armstrong
Fast Rope into Farcaster
How to Hang with the Smartest People on the Internet
If you want to find your people on Farcaster…
I’ve spent over a year playing around on Farcaster.
I’ve casted at least 18,000 times.
(Honestly, I know I’ve casted more than that, but I accidentally deleted a tbd number of casts recently while playing around with my account + code - whoops )
(If you want to know the non-Farcaster stuff about me - check this out)
Basically, I really like Farcaster and that’s (emphatically) my revealed preference.
So as much as anyone can have a good grasp of the eclectic culture of this vibrant group of internet quasi-strangers… I think I probably do (at least for now).
This past weekend, Farcaster’s founder, Dan Romero, sort of maybe kind of opened the invite floodgates a teensy bit to capitalize on the user frustration at good ol’ Elon rate limiting Twitter accounts.
So a lot of new people joined and much content was casted.
And after a few days of watching many earnest accounts (and some not so earnest ones) straight up whiff their first casts on entry - I decided to write this short guide to help new and lapsed-but-returning Casters enter this awesome community with a bit more aplomb.
The Absolute Basics
Farcaster = The Protocol
Warpcast = The Client
Think of Farcaster like Email and Warpcast as Gmail.
People use these terms sort of interchangeably.
Also, we like to joke about Kiwi’s (the fruit).
I’ll expand on this in a later essay.
What’s the Vibe?
First, there 100% is a vibe.
And it’s so nice 🤌😩
Give more than you take.
If you want something to exist, don’t complain - just build it.
If you disagree with or don’t understand something, ask the Caster why they think that way with the goal to learn, not to dunk on them.
Assume positive intent.
It’s honestly not much more complex than that, but it’s really crazy how these 5 attitudinal expressions combine to make the Farcaster feed feel as truly a singular place on the internet as I’ve ever found… and I’ve been terminally online for just about the past 20 years of my life.
Who knows whether this will still be the vibe in a few months, but for now these shared values are strong af.
So how do I Cast Gooder?
I’ve seen some clear commonalities across accounts that people enjoy following on Farcaster.
Some of these are checklist items and some are more general suggestions, but all are actions or behaviors I’ve seen help accounts integrate very quickly into the community.
Often, the accounts that nail these things start helping to shape the platform’s conversation almost immediately.
1. Fill out your profile page with meaningful information. Things like:
Who are you?
What are you building/creating?
What things do you care about?
What groups do you identify with (developers, artists, AI, etc)?
What makes you immediately interesting to the web3 native, practical, techno-optimist that is passing through your page?
Unless you’re Vitalik and everybody already knows who you are your profile needs to rapidly make a case for why someone should spend their valuable time listening to what you have to say.
Calling yourself a “web3 explorer" or a “blockchain lover” or an “airdrop farmer” is the fastest way to reveal how little effort you’re going to put into your casting.
2. Have a profile pic (lol duh), preferably an NFT that you own.
Related - people can see your NFT’s on Farcaster, so if you don’t own that NFT and still have it as your pfp I’m personally just going to assume you’re scamming until you prove otherwise. I understand hot/cold wallets may make this annoying for you, but, as a user, Farcaster is safer for me with that assumption.
3. Don’t change your profile pic if you can help it.
I’ve consistently seen Casters remark about the relationship between pfp’s and account recognition. Think of your pfp as a pointer embedded in the reader’s brain that links to the entire contextual history of your content. Changing your pfp doesn’t necessarily reset your recognition to zero, but it adds a lot of synaptic friction (triply so if you’re a new account).
4. Cast Something.
When Casters see a new profile in their feed, they will generally tap into it to look at it. If all you’ve done is reply to casts without any top level casting, your profile will literally say “@cameron hasn’t casted yet” which for any reasonable viewer immediately translates to an auto-fail at earning their follow.
5. Don’t just Cast Anything.
I mean, cast whatever you want (I’m not your dad), but I recommend asking yourself
Will a viewer who has no idea who I am have enough context to get value out of this cast?
Does this cast contribute something to the conversations Farcasters think are important? (Memes btw contribute a LOT to a conversation if they don’t suck)
Do I have a unique perspective I can bring to the feed? (You probably do and you should lean into that)
Not every cast has to be banger (and trust me, they’re not gonna be), but if you take a quick look around the protocol it’s mind boggling how many people cast “GM” 9 days in a row and nothing else, or say “Hummus” once without any context, or share a grainy pic of some normal trees, or post a link to an outdated news story about a shitcoin, and then publicly complain they’re not getting any engagement.
All of these are real casts btw.
There are many versions of this problem, but they all essentially reduce down to “your content isn’t bringing any value to any audience.”
When in doubt, cast the kind of content you would want to consume.
6. Reply Much More than you Cast
My ratio is roughly 5 replies : 1 Cast
There are two reasons why you should do this.
First, as a brand new account you have no distribution.
The Warpcast default feed is a “Following” feed and if you have zero followers, you will show up in zero default feeds. This may change, but Warpcast (reasonably imo) right now doesn’t push new user content in front of existing users without opt-in from that account via a follow. So without replies, absolutely no one will know you exist.
The second reason is that a good reply is a positive sum contribution to Farcaster.
It directly helps the OG Caster (by continuing & boosting their conversation), it helps Farcaster grow (by increasing the depth and breadth of existing content streams), and helps you demonstrate to other Casters that you are capable of contributing something valuable to the Farcaster community.
In a way, it’s much more useful to the existing community for there to be another reply than another top level cast (all other things being equal).
Fwiw, spamming “nice” on 16 different casts is not a good reply strategy - even if the first few times you do it you get some engagement (because Casters are assuming your positive intent). Casters will quickly see the pattern of low effort reply farming, they’ll mentally bucket your casts in the “broken trust” category, mute your account, and your engagement will soon die off.
I’ve seen it happen multiple times over the past year 🤷
7. Share Earned Secrets
One way to catch a Caster’s interest is by sharing something they can’t possibly know because they’re not you.
Did you spend 2 years in the paper manufacturing supply chain industry and now you understand the power dynamics of loggers vs paper pulp distributors?
That’s almost for sure a banger cast, thread, or essay on Farcaster.
Did you somehow find crypto after failing to break into Big Tech because you weren’t anointed by the Stanford-Harvard-Ivy-Industrial complex so instead of playing league in your Sequoia pitch you had to self fund your startup instead?
Hell yea. Another banger.
Often, the more niche the experience, the more interesting your perspective is going to be. Art, Sales, Guitar, Accounting, whatever. Casters will find all of it interesting, but only if you share something they can’t really get somewhere else.
But seriously, you don’t have to be a superhero!
Just ask yourself - what do I know that others may not (or may not have ever shared) by virtue of my life, background, country of origin, language, associations, life choices, career opportunities, and mistakes.
8. Share Tertiary Ideas (AKA Third Order Thinking)
Casters are smart.
They’re probably smarter than you in the realm of their interests.
They’re certainly smarter than me.
So to have any impact on a Caster’s mindshare, you have bring something that they’re not inclined to think about themselves.
Reporting simple facts or events is a commodity service and a larger account that has more distribution will cast the same thing and they’ll “win” the attention war with the exact same content.
Casting about a takeaway or second order conclusion from that fact or event is slightly more valuable, but Casters will usually have logick-ed through the
“Event A just happened so therefore Thought B must be true”
line of thinking about any particular thing by the time you cast it.
Remember, Casters are smart.
You make your
money, fake internet points, fake credibly neutral social protocol points on Tertiary Thoughts.
“If Event A just happened, then therefore Thought B must be true, and accordingly Thought C must also be true (or false or no longer relevant etc etc etc)”
If you consistently bring a third order revelation to the conversation, you’ll be known as (and actually become lol) incredibly thoughtful in a very short amount of time.
9. Use Channels Appropriately.
Channels are like subreddits.
We just got them like a month ago and we’re still figuring out (with the Farcaster team) how they should work. There is not one for every topic (yet) and they only show up on mobile, but if it exists (ie. books, LA, PurpleDAO), I recommend casting related ideas there.
It’ll be a more focused conversation with users very interested in the topic.
Spamming channels with off-topic casts won’t work - I promise.
10. Engage Earnestly.
There’s a reason why I started and ended this essay with “Engage Earnestly”.
It’s literally the most important thing you can do to be a good Caster.
The Farcaster core is still literally all human people (plus a few fun bots).
Razor sharp, caring, and motivated human people.
They can smell when you’re faking it pretty quickly.
If you want to be here out of more than just a lizard-like self interest, you treat other people with respect and curiosity, and attempt to make genuine connections with the human beings (through conversation, memes, or thoughtful debate) behind the pfp’s you’ll very quickly find yourself with more new internet friends than you could ever need.
Okay I did all that - what now?
Keep showing up.
There have been a lot of people who participate for a week or two and then go right back to Twitter.
I empathize with them.
Starting over is hard.
Nobody likes the ego death when you lose a comma on your follower count.
Yet that heartache still doesn’t change the reality that getting people to recognize your tangible contributions (not just your reputation) as valuable takes time, effort, and, frankly, consistency.
There’s not a shortcut to building legitimacy.
But I will be publishing extensions of this essay real soon focused on Farcaster lore, the developer ecosystem, and the community in general that might help you speed that journey up a bit.
Get notified when they’re live!
And I will also be releasing some features related to those challenges of importing legitimacy on Saymore.tv real soon 😈
If this piqued your interest in Farcaster and you want an invite - hit me up on your platform of choice.
If you feel like you can’t break through the noise - tag me in a cast (@cameron)
Everybody else - I’ll see you on the Far Side
I hope this added value to your day.
Please share this with someone who might find this interesting!
If you have any thoughts or questions about this essay - Let’s Chat
and, of course, please subscribe to Wysr