Obviously, I couldn't have done this without you!
To end up with over 10K followers already after previously never really being online is huge for @papa-pepper. Recently, on my trip to Texas to hook up with @xtrodinarypilot, I hit 10,000 followers. This puts @papa-pepper in the top 20 for all of steemit, which is insane.
First off, I wanted to thank all of you, as it truly means a lot to me. When I first started, I never thought that somehow I would be catapulted into the forefront of this community, or that I would be able to meet so many wonderful people from all around the world, not only online, but in real life too!
However, it is not without difficulty or concern that I reach such milestones as this...
According to this source, here is a definition of "substainability:"
the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
I use that word in reference to our steemit blogs these days. Many of our blogs have grown rather nicely, even to the point that they seem almost unmanageable at times. How in the world can 10,000 steemians follow @papa-pepper, and how can he possibly interact with and support them all? That is exactly the question with which I am frequently faced.
It is the purpose of this post to share a few of my recent thoughts on the subject. Hopefully, some of what I share will bless you, and maybe you may even have some good insight for me on the matter.
VOLUNTARY INTERACTION - NOT OBLIGATORY
So many times, especially recently, I have been receiving "complaint comments." Though they vary slightly, the basic story is the same, and goes something like this: "I upvote and resteem your posts, but you do not upvote and resteem mine."
Trust me, I realized early on in my steemit interaction that there would never be a way that I could support everyone who supported me. Truth be told, most of my post preparation and other activities are done offline, and my actual time online each is not all that much. Often it is spent trying to post, reply to comments, curate, and encourage others. Still, there is no way that I can upvote everyone or even reply to every comment that I receive.
There are certainly some longtime steemians like @kus-knee, @gringalicious, @rigaronib and others that I would like to support by upvoting every post that they make. Their posts are always professional, original, and quite frankly I want to support the person behind the account, and not just their specific posts. However, as they can testify, I rarely make my way over these days.
Also, there are tons of newer users joining our community every day, and I would like to meet and support many of them too, but my time is limited. I still have to get work done, raise my family, sleep, work on building my homestead, and other tasks. Now, more than ever, I admit that I cannot get around, curate, comment, and interact as much as I would like to .
For this reason I must remind people that activities like following, upvoting, and resteeming are voluntary and not obligatory. No one is required to follow you back if you follow them, or resteem your posts if you resteem theirs, or upvote you if you upvote them. If the sole purpose of you following, upvoting, or resteeming the @papa-pepper account is so that I will do the same to you, you will most likely be very disappointed. That is the truth of the matter.
If you choose to follow, upvote or resteem me, I thank you. If not, you are free to choose to do so as well.
REAL FOLLOWERS - WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST?
Of the over 10,000 accounts following @papa-pepper, 4591 of those are "dead followers" according to http://steemit.deadfollowers.info/, a handy tool created by @mynameisbrian. That means that although 10,000 is a great, big, milestone number, only 5475 of those accounts have posted in the last month. I realize that just because they have not posted doesn't mean that they are still not "active" in the community on some level, but I wanted to compare voting for a moment.
Many accounts post more than once a day, and many others far less than once a day. However, let's imagine that each of my "active followers" posted once per day on average. While I could vote on each of over 5000 posts on a daily basis, I guarantee that I could not actually read them or make a comment on them. Simply put, there is just not enough of me to go around.
If I used an autovoter bot, I could just upvote each person that I follow with a tiny %, but I curate manually. How then should I even try to support others and encourage them?
My solution now is the same that it has been for months. In an attempt to bless, support, encourage, inspire, and interact with as many steemians as possible I try to give back in many ways.
Many of the gifts that I have sent to others are just that. Whether it is T-shirts, peppers, garden seeds, or even the STEEM "COMMUNITY" Silver Rounds, I am always hard at work shipping things out to other steemians all around the world. I still have some shirts and Silver rounds to get out too. Obviously, I cannot ship a free present to everyone in the world, but I certainly do a lot of it anyway.
The other main way that I try to bless others is by running contests. As @quinneaker noticed, my contests are a bit different from a lot of other contests. You never need to follow me, upvote the post, or resteem the post to enter. You don't even need to like me. All you need to do is follow the rules and you could win.
I have literally given away thousands of dollars worth of prizes in my time on steemit, all because I wanted to. For me, it was just a small token of my appreciation for this community and platform. Though I may not make it over to your post and upvote it, you are still free to try to win as much STEEM and SBD as you want from my own personal wallet.
THE LEARNING CURVE
While every steemian is free to choose how to use their upvotes, they are also free to choose how to use their down votes, AKA flags. Personally, I have never flagged another steemian.
Though I certainly have seen some things that are "flag-worthy" I have chosen to not personally downvote others. Many of the same comments that you see being made on my posts are often flagged on other posts, and sometimes others even flag the ones of my posts "for me." However, because of cultural differences and the "learning curve" that comes with online interaction here, I have not done so as of yet.
Like many others users, I'd rather not see a long line of replies on my posts that range between "upvote me" and "nice post." However, this seems to be what we are stuck with at the moment. For the record, if you tell me to "upvote you" chances are that I will not. If you tell me "nice post" I may not believe that you even looked at it.
On the contrary, when I see real comments made by other steemians who obviously read my post, often it encourages me to use my freedom to check out their recent posts. I do not have to, but I can choose to. If they would have chose not to leave a real comment, I would have chosen otherwise.
In closing, I want to end on a happy note. You guys are amazing, and I could not have this many followers without you choosing to support me. For this I am forever grateful and thankful. It seriously means a lot to me.
I know that many choose to look up to @papa-pepper, and I just wanted to be honest at this time to share some of my thoughts and struggles with you. I wish us all the utmost success, but also want us to consider how we should proceed as our follower base continues to grow.
If you have any helpful suggestions for me, please let me know. At times I feel overwhelmed by the cries of others about my lack of support for them. I know that I truly do not owe them anything, and that I cannot possibly "support" everyone with upvotes, so how should I proceed? What would you do in my situation?
Thanks again everyone!
As always, I'm @papa-pepper and here's the proof:
Until next time…
Don’t waste your time online, invest it with steemit.com