Let's start with a question: Is Steemit a privilege or an opportunity?
If you answered privilege, then you are going to struggle on Steemit and eventually give up.
Because no one on Steemit who grew from nothing did so with privilege. If you are able to access the internet and create a Steemit account, you have been given opportunity. More importantly, you have been given equal opportunity.
Gender, Race, Nationality, Ethnicity, Hair color, Wealth, Background, Upbringing, Looks, Smell... none of these things need to determine your success on Steemit.
Steemit is a great social and economic experiment to throw privilege back into the face of everyone on the planet and say loudly:
"All real-world social barriers have been removed for you, and now you have zero excuse to say why you weren't successful.
This is not a smug or "I told you so" kind of statement to rub in the faces of anyone.
While people who are still stuck in the notion of privilege keep rambling on about how whales are stealing everyone else's reward, they fail to realize that a lot of whales are actually distributing that wealth through covert means to provide opportunity for the minnows on the platform. I would dare say the people that complain the loudest about the whales are those that have invested a few grand of their money from the real world and bought their Steem, and are mad that they don't get a ticket to the front of the line to demand how they want things to work.
Sorry; no privilege here.
Besides, A real life whale investing a million dollars into Steem overnight would lift the price up for everyone else and all our wallets would increase in value, and Steem then climbs up the cryptocurrency rankings. Don't think of whales who bought their way in as thieves, instead think of them as investors that draw attention to the platform and have an interest in seeing the platform be successful. Steem sitting on an exchange is like firewood rotting in a swamp.
Full disclosure, I've never paid a cent of fiat money for any cryptocurrency, so I don't have a horse in that race. That doesn't mean I never have tether or USD sitting on an exchange to wait out a crash though. My position is one of building from zero. I started mining crypto a year ago with some graphic cards I was no longer using. From there I have grown but still only have a few humble graphic cards puttering away. I sometimes move some Steem or Steem Dollars out of this platform to buy into an altcoin for a quick and predictable 15-25% gain, then transfer back to Steemit.
What Steemit can do is show people how to take opportunity if they know where to look for it. The search for opportunity is layered like an onion here. Every time we find a new way of getting ahead on Steemit, we think "wow, I wonder how many people know they can do this while also helping others?"
As time presses forward new opportunities present themselves on Steemit, either created by other whales or witnesses, or just organic ways that take creativity and some patience to grow ourselves. In all of these opportunities, it requires interaction between Steemians on some level. If you only ever upvote yourself, it is probably the third slowest way to grow (the 2nd slowest being to just upvote others and hope they upvote you back, and the slowest way being to just spam comments begging or hoping for upvotes).
So now people are going to ask "so what are these magic opportunities?"
that my fellow Steemians is not a secret; those opportunities are there for you to discover as you grow on this platform and stick it out. The longer you push forward on this platform and keeping looking for opportunities, you will find them and you will learn that to make money you need to spend money smartly, just like in a real life business. As long as the gains outweigh the expense, you are being profitable and you will grow. That's all I will say because there is one barrier in life that even Steem cannot overcome, and that is willpower and determination.
If you are determined to go somewhere, you will get there one way or the other. You just need to know where it is you're going first, and then having the endurance to fight through the bears of this world that will teach you only how to fail, and will then hate you if you succeed. Let them hate you, they are stuck in the mindset of privilege, when they don't realize opportunity is not a birthright. How many people do you know that are born in a wealthy society that waste every opportunity to instead enjoy the moment and end up pumping gas or flipping burgers for 20 years? Such privilege!
At the end of the day, a rising tide raises all boats. Curse the whales on here if you want, but they are the reason Steem is worth dollars, and not pennies.
Don't listen to those who spew negativity and verbal diarrhea, they are those who bury their heads in the sand and then proceed to tell you what is happening above ground.
Please don't give up on Steem, but don't think this platform is a free lunch either. Be yourself, talk about what you are interested in and don't worry if someone else doesn't like what you have to say (there are limits of course lol).
This platform takes the notion of privilege and throws it out the window. What you have left is opportunity. Look for it and you will eventually find it. Life is a privilege, and from there you succeed on your terms, not anyone else's.
if you want to be more proactive in this community, try using steemfollower (sign in is done through steemconnect using your steemit name and your private posting key - found in your wallet under permissions). This Video will explain how the program works. It is a great way to motivate you to produce great content, and to reward others for producing great content.