From time to time, I see discussion about “evergreen content” on the blockchain. True evergreen content is rare on Steem, since most interfaces are feed-based sites built to accommodate a seven-day payout window. Fresh content is quickly buried beneath even fresher content. But that’s characteristic of the interfaces, not the blockchain itself. Blockchain technology is one of the most permanent forms of digital data storage in existence. There’s no reason it can’t be used for showcases, portfolios, online magazines, and many other applications that aren’t built around the payout window.
So What Is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content is content that maintains its relevance long after its publication date, on a continuing basis. News stories are not considered evergreen in most cases because interest in them peaks at publication and tapers off as the subject matter fades from the spotlight. Weather reports, for example, are valuable mostly at the time and date of the report, and later are valuable only as archival information. The same is true for cryptocurrency charts and most personal blog posts.
On the other hand, Julio Cortazar’s short story “Axolotl” was published in 1956 and is searched for, read, and reprinted as much today as it was six decades ago. The same is true for instances of long-form fiction and many other short stories. Certain types of articles and opinion pieces, especially those relating to philosophy and the human condition, are also indefinitely relevant and of interest to readers for years after their publication date.
We have writers with many different interests and types of skill. Most of them at least dabble in fiction, both long and short form. We have writers who also write poetry, articles about life and science, as well as philosophy. In other words, our folks are bloggers, but they also produce a heck of a lot of evergreen content.
Last year, we launched a website called Steemshelves that provides single URL links to collections of work posted on the Steem blockchain that each author might wish to promote or share. This helped a lot of users index and reference their evergreen work in a simpler, more convenient way than a scrolling feed. However, this site has its limitations because it doesn’t pull directly from the blockchain. Our latest project, Wordrow, while still in development, will provide an actual blockchain interface, making it possible to onboard new users who may wish to interact through that site alone. Content will stay visible longer, be easier to reference, and still be eligible for the seven-day payout window that comes with using the Steem blockchain.
Should I Produce Evergreen Content for the Blockchain?
The answer will vary by individual asking the question. Does evergreen content make the blockchain more valuable? No. Investors do that. Evergreen content will matter most to the creator of it and to the audience it was created for. For example, photographers are likely to publish photos that will be just as worthwhile to see ten years from now as they are today. This matters to the photographer, because he may be able to sell prints of the photo or use it online to demonstrate his skill and style. It matters to his audience, because someone looking to purchase an image or hire a photographer will use the site to make those decisions. One can argue that any website will serve that purpose, but just “any” website isn’t indelible, nor will just “any” website offer the additional bonus of a potential payout.
Potential Problems with Evergreen Content on the Blockchain
Right now it seems like a waste of good content to post on many Steem interfaces, because the content is quickly buried and the payout window ends on the seventh day. But users should realize that just because the content is buried doesn’t mean it’s gone. It’s still there, will be there forever, and the right interface will display it regardless of age. While this seems ideal for publication, it can be a double-edged sword. People who post embarrassing content, substandard creative content, or anything they wouldn’t want associated with them until the end of time may end up confronted with that material twenty, thirty, even fifty years from now on a website they have no control over.
Evergreen content is the type of content that will benefit a website or user at any point in the future. This might get tricky as the years go by. For example, in 2030, if someone wanted to create a poetry magazine geared toward certain readers, they could develop an interface that calls up certain posts from the Steem blockchain and display them like an online magazine. The owner of the poems would have no say in the matter, because the website would be calling the information from the blockchain where the author placed it with full consent. The developer of the poetry magazine could potentially even charge a subscription fee, and the original content creators would most likely have little chance to receive any type of compensation or royalties.
The Future of Evergreen Content on the Blockchain
I think there will always be a place for evergreen content on the blockchain. As long as authors are aware of the realities that are inherent with blockchain technology, they can make enlightened decisions about what to post on the blockchain and what to reserve for traditional publishing. I can see a big surge of content on the horizon that’s written specifically for blockchain publication, like serialized fiction with condensed, punchier installments that appeal to shorter attention spans. As a novelist myself, I can imagine a multitude of uses for this type of post, from teaser trailers and first chapters to corollary works of fiction based on the characters and worlds of much larger novels. This would appeal greatly to fans of certain genre fiction like fantasy, sci-fi, and romance. We may have to get comfortable with loss of control about how our content appears and is displayed, but at least we’ll know that no alterations to our original work can ever be made as long as it was first published on the blockchain.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out as new interfaces develop, and new technologies emerge.
Posted from my blog with SteemPress : http://www.writersblockcentral.com/uncategorized/state-of-the-art-where-has-the-fiction-gone/