Over the past few years, I've done a lot of prompt-based group writing experimentation. The general idea is: a well-crafted prompt gets the gears of the mind turning, which gets us thinking, and facilitates our ability to produce interesting written responses.
The concept of prompting comes from a latin linguistic lineage, including the word promptus meaning "an exposing to view, a being visible". I've designed prompts within projects to help people expose their own thinking, to bring a thought or perspective into view.
The context of prompting varies as widely as our imaginations. For example, I organized a prompt-based group journaling experiment with Dave to explore the experience of COVID when lock-down and quarantine first became a reality in our lives. In a more ongoing exploration, much of the work I've done with Buzzard squad has been framed by prompts to explore co-creating and group publishing .
I should note, prompting is not only a written exploration. Prompts can be designed with any form of media, and prompt responses can also come in any form. Take the psychological Rorschach test as an example, where a visual prompt is answered by a verbal response.
With Buzzard, we've been most interested in using prompting as a tool for participatory media creation. In this sense, the design and use of prompts as a style of game where people join by responding to a prompt .
Conceptually, prompting is quite simple, and in practice it's quite fun. So, after spending time experimenting with different prompt games, Buzzard decided to build a web3 prompting tool.
A web3 Prompt-Based Social Media Primitive
web3 offers a great ecosystem for building collective games because it's natively networked so it's easy to cast out prompts and collect responses. In the case of the Ethereum network, we can create a wallet-mediated site to share prompts from, and allow anyone with an Eth address to respond to the prompt.
What we envision is a type of social blogging in the form of a call-and-response prompt game. Prompts would be accessed through URLs and could thus be used as a social media symbiote, snapping into existing social platforms to share with our friends. Tweet out a prompt, include a prompt in your newsletter, share in a group chat or Discord.
Below are a few schematic explorations on how to design and build a simple web3 prompt platform. The first two images are explorations of potential product designs, and the last is a proposed state flow from the perspective of the engineering back-end to the web. We're calling the product Prompty.
Buzzard is currently building a Prompty prototype, and we've partnered with our friends over at Open Purpose, a global design agency, to help with product design and branding. We're excited to bring prompting to web3 and interested to see how different communities use the tool. We know Buzzard will use Prompty to continue prompt explorations for our work in collaborative media.
 Buzzard squad often frames our prompt explorations as games because we're designing the experience as a type of structured play.
 Buzzard built a visual prompt game on the blockchain called Exquiste Land. The concept is to collaboratively draw a canvas comprised of tiles using pixel art. Each completed (drawn) tile serves as a visual prompt for its neighboring tiles. The first Exquisite Land canvas, Terra Masu, was completed December 31, 2021.